US Airways Launches Nation's 10th Attempted Fare Hike

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Just days after a rival fare increased collapsed, US Airways initiated a new $10 fare hike on Thursday afternoon, the 10th attempt to raise fares by a major commercial airline this year, according to FareCompare.com.

The fare was matched Thursday evening by Delta Air Lines, followed by American Airlines and Continental Airlines on Friday, according to FareCompare.com. However, United Airlines, the merger partner of Continental, did not match.

United Continental previously raised fares on March 31, but that fare increase collapsed on Tuesday, the third consecutive fare increase to unravel since March 9.

The recent fare increases have largely failed because low-cost carriers like Southwest and JetBlue Airways refused to join in, and March traffic data appears to show the low cost carriers benefiting from increased passenger traffic.

"March is always a busy travel month for the airlines because of spring break travel," said Ashley Dillon, spokesperson for Southwest. "I do think that some of our policies and low fares are accounting for our strong March numbers.

Dallas-based low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines, said on Thursday that it flew 7.3 billion revenue passenger miles in March, a 9.8 percent increase from the 6.7 billion RPM's a year ago. Load factors, or the percentage of airline seats filled with passengers, in March rose slightly to 81.6% compared with 81% a year ago.

By comparison, Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines said March traffic rose only 0.8 percent to 10.7 billion revenue passenger miles, from 10.6 a year ago. Load factors fell to 80.2% from 81.7 a year ago.

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