Airline News June 2005.

 
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Last-minute business travelers pay less as leisure fares rise. Business travelers who fly at the last minute are often paying significantly less than they were a year ago, despite leisure tickets being more costly, experts say. One-way business fares nationwide have dropped 32% since last year, according to a Harrell Associates study, while the average one-way leisure fare increased just 7%. Jun 28, 2005

Airlines discount first-class seats on competitive routes. Many airlines are deeply discounting first-class tickets on some routes, writes The Washington Post's Keith L. Alexander. The airlines are trying to generate revenue by filling seats that would otherwise remain unsold, industry analysts said. It also gives them the chance to win a customer from a rival carrier, said American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith. Jun 21, 2005

AirTran to launch Cancun flights in December. Discounter AirTran Airways will launch flights to Cancun from Atlanta and Tampa, Fla., in December, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. AirTran will compete against Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico. Jun 29, 2005

AirTran to launch Richmond, Va., service with young fleet. AirTran Airways will start service to Richmond, Va., later this month after a six-year break, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. When it left Richmond in late 1999, AirTran's planes were an average of 28 years old. The carrier has since ordered new planes, and now its Boeing jets are an average of 3.5 years old. Jun 21, 2005

AirTran inks distribution deal with G2 SwitchWorks. AirTran Airways became the first low-cost carrier to agree to a distribution deal with alternative global distribution system G2 SwitchWorks. AirTran will get a lower rate and the opportunity to obtain a minority stake in the new GDS in exchange for prepaying distribution fees. Jun 10, 2005

Airlines pitch products during flights to raise cash. Airlines have started advertising a range of products during flights. A case in point is Alaska Airlines, whose flight attendants encouraged passengers to sign up for a Bank of America credit card. Airlines say the ads help boost revenue but will not comment on how much. Jun 7, 2005

Lawyer sues Alitalia over business-class seats. A Miami lawyer has sued Italian carrier Alitalia in federal court over legroom in the airline's business-class section, the Miami Herald reported. Matthew L. Leibowitz paid $8,800 to upgrade four seats in business class. He claims that on one segment of his trip, the seats did not have "the extra width one reasonably expects from business-class seats." Jun 7, 2005

Merger creates huge demand for America West merchandise. The public is snapping up merchandise with the America West Airlines logo. Sales at the America West company store rose 800% after the airline announced plans to merge with US Airways. The America West name will disappear if the merger is completed. Jun 6, 2005

America West CEO Parker is popular among employees. America West Airlines chief executive Doug Parker is poised to run the merged America West and US Airways. Parker is credited with leading America West after the Sept. 11 attacks, restructuring pricing and lowering costs, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Employees praise Parker for improving labor relations. Jun 2, 2005

US Airways, America West merger may succeed, analysts say. US Airways has tried to merge with other airlines over the years, but the deals have always fallen through, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Some analysts believe its proposed merger with America West Airlines will succeed and say regulators are less likely to stop the merger based on competitive grounds. Jun 13, 2005

America West-US Airways deal could spur more consolidation, analysts say. If the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines is approved, it could spur more consolidation in the industry, the Boston Globe reported. The best combinations would help airlines fill gaps in their networks, analysts said. However, they point out that airline mergers are costly and cumbersome. Jun 9, 2005

American reports second-quarter revenue. Strong demand for travel and several fare increases boosted American Airlines' second-quarter revenue, the carrier said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The airline also said fuel prices have climbed, sending second-quarter unit costs up almost 6%. Jun 23, 2005

American executives, workers team up to oppose pension changes: American Airlines executives and employees teamed up Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to oppose proposed changes to pension plans, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Congress is considering changes intended to protect pension plans. American wants to preserve its plan, which is the strongest in the airline industry. Jun 23, 2005

American takes different stance on pension plans. American Airlines wants Congress to pass laws making it easier to preserve its pension plan, according to media reports. Meanwhile, other airlines are pushing for legislation that will allow them to freeze or abandon their plans. American's pension plan is the strongest of the large airlines. Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines want to stretch pension obligations over 25 years, but American wants to pay its shortfall over 15 years. Jun 22, 2005

American works to lower fuel costs ahead of busy season. American Airlines is urging its workers to concentrate on saving fuel as the busy summer travel season approaches, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. The airline hopes to cut $45 million in fuel costs this year. For example, American is asking pilots to optimize airspeed and altitude and to refuel at the cheapest airport. Jun 16, 2005

Exclusion of taxes from ticket prices annoys travelers. Some travelers are annoyed with airlines that do not include taxes and fees in a quoted ticket price, the Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney writes. American Airlines recently started pricing tickets without including taxes and fees. Many discount airlines routinely exclude taxes and fees from ticket prices. Jun 3, 2005

Led by Pacific routes, American reports boost in May traffic. American Airlines said traffic rose 10% in May, compared with year-ago figures. The company experienced the greatest boost on its Pacific routes, while European and Latin American routes also posted large gains. Jun 3, 2005

Steep competition from American has Southwest avoiding Dallas/Fort Worth: Discounter Southwest Airlines is reluctant to start flying from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport because of the heavy competition it would face from American Airlines, the Dallas Morning News reported. D/FW officials have encouraged Southwest to start flying there ever since Delta Air Lines pulled out earlier this year. Southwest Chairman Herb Kelleher noted that to his ears, "the...

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