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The DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) said U.S. domestic airline traffic for the first seven months of this year was up 7.9 percent over the same period last year. Airlines carried 367.8 million domestic passengers during this time, up from 340 million last year. Meanwhile, revenue passenger miles rose 11 percent and available seat miles were up 8.5 percent. Southwest carried the most passengers, 47.5 million, while Atlanta was the busiest airport, boarding 22.2 million passengers. Oct 14, 2004

New research from the European Travel Commission affirms a continuing growth in U.S. travel to Europe. Overall traffic for the top nine carriers to Europe was up an average 13.5 percent through September. Through July US traffic to Europe was up 17.5 percent compared to the same period last year. Oct 13, 2004

Surging oil prices will "wipe out profits" of European airlines this year, the continent's largest airline industry association said Tuesday. Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, director-general of the Association of European Airlines, told a conference the group's members would, at best, "break even" this year, despite an expected 8.5 percent rise in passenger traffic. If the prediction is confirmed, it will mark the sixth straight year that European airlines have lost money. Last year, AEA 31 members lost a combined euro1.25 billion (US$1.5 billion). The European airline industry has been struggling to recover since the downturn in global travel sparked by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Iraq war and the deadly SARS virus have compounded its woes, Schulte-Strathaus said. Several carriers, including Air France and British Airways , were recently forced to make big increases in their fuel surcharges on passenger airfares. Oct 12, 2004

Airlines Hike Fares, Brace for Turbulence As Oil Price Soars Over $53-A- Barrel Mark. Airlines the world over are raising fares in response to the latest oil price hike, which threatens to choke off a gradual recovery in air travel and deepen the woes of carriers already struggling with bankruptcy. British Airways became the latest airline to increase prices last Friday after American Airlines raised one-way domestic flights by US$5 earlier this week, prompting United Airlines and Continental Airlines to follow suit. BA said it was adding 20 pounds (euro29, US$36) to the price of a long-haul round trip as light sweet crude soared back over the US$53 mark in New York last Friday. The latest round of fare hikes could dampen demand for air travel, industry watchers warn, just as passenger traffic figures were beginning to recover from a series of setbacks. Air France and Germany's Lufthansa are among carriers that have scaled back their short-term growth forecasts, reflecting expectations of more muted demand. If a prolonged rise in oil prices triggers a broader global economic slowdown, airlines will suffer even more as nonessential business travel and ambitious holiday plans are cut back. Oct 8, 2004

The American Stock Exchange's Airline Index rebounded from a sharp downturn on Oct. 5 2004, climbing 1.6 percent to 44.61 points in recent activity. Although low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Inc. reported higher September traffic, the company's overall plane occupancy declined 3.6 percentage points to 76.6 percent, JetBlue said Wednesday. Shares were recently up 14 cents, or less than 1 percent, at $21.24 on the Nasdaq. Investors pulled back from U.S. Airways Group Inc. ahead of news that its pilots' union will vote on a new contract with as much as $300 million in concessions, including an 18 percent pay cut. U.S. Airways last month filed for its second bankruptcy in four years, and is seeking about $1 billion in annual savings as the carrier attempts to reformat as a low-cost airline. Its shares fell 13 percent, or 18 cents, to $1.20 recently on the bulletin-board exchange. Oct 6, 2004

IATA (International Air Transport Association) has published figures for the first eight months of 2004 over 2003 which show increases of 18.7% for international passenger traffic and 14.2% for international cargo traffic. The high growth figures for the period are partially exaggerated by the comparison to a period in 2003 which was severely depressed due to the SARS crisis. Nonetheless indications of healthy traffic growth are clearly evident in the August performance. Year-on- year for August, passenger traffic grew by 10.8% while freight was up 13.6%. More capacity is now entering all major markets but the passenger load factor globally remained at a relatively high level of 78.3% for the month of August 2004. http://www.iata.org Oct 4, 2004

AfricaTours, South African Airways, South Africa Tourism, and some of the top properties in Southern Africa, are hosting an exclusive Southern Africa educational lunch for top travel agents in the Chicago area on October 20 2004 at Tru Restaurant. At the Tru lunch, some of the best properties in Southern Africa will be in one place at one time, an opportunity for agents to educate themselves on African travel opportunities, from safaris to lodges, in Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Among the products to be displayed are AfricaTours; Africa in Style; African Pride; Cape Grace and The Victoria Falls Hotel; The Luxury Collection (Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel and Western Cape & Spa); Sanctuary Lodges; South African Airways and Sun International. Call 800-235-3692. Oct 14, 2004

Air France chose the elegantly splendid residence of the French Ambassador to unveil last week for the British travel trade and serious customers their new and most impressive first and club class products. Called L'Espace Premiere (first class) and L'Espace Affaires (J class), they have been introduced on the CDG's Tokyo route and will be subsequently rolled out over the whole system during the next six months. Designed by UK safety seat specialist Britax both recline to 180 degrees. With first class the footstool doubles as a seat and storage area. You can dine at a table with a companion who also has a seat belt in case of turbulence. The very attractive business class seat allows the passenger to stretch out into the base of the seat in front and AF says that even the full recline...

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