Av­er­age do­mes­tic air­fare hits $391

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Hugo Martin hugo.martin@la­times.com

The na­tion’s air­line in­dus­try con­tin­ued to en­joy strong fi­nan­cial data with fresh gov­ern­ment statis­tics show­ing that the av­er­age do­mes­tic air fare for 2014 was $391, the high­est fare since the fed­eral gov­ern­ment be­gan track­ing the data in 1995.

But the higher fares are not di­min­ish­ing the de­mand for air travel. A new sur­vey shows that the per­cent­age of U.S. trav­el­ers ex­pect­ing to fly this year is up three per­cent­age points over last year, with many plan­ning to travel abroad.

The data re­leased Tues­day by the U.S. Bureau of Trans­porta­tion Statis­tics were only the lat­est good news for the air­line in­dus­try.

Most of the big­gest car­ri­ers re­ported record prof­its for the first quar­ter of the year, thanks partly to lower fuel costs and strong de­mand.

Delta Air Lines re­ported record first-quar­ter net in­come of $746 mil­lion, com­pared with $213 mil­lion for the same pe­riod in 2014. It also pre­dicted that it would save $2 bil­lion in fuel costs in 2015.

“Delta’s busi­ness is per­form­ing well, pro­duc­ing the best March quar­ter, both op­er­a­tionally and fi­nan­cially, in Delta’s his­tory,” said Richard An­der­son, Delta’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Amer­i­can Air­line’s firstquar­ter profit was a record $932 mil­lion, com­pared with a profit of $480 mil­lion for the same pe­riod in 2014. The com­pany at­trib­uted the strong num­bers pri­mar­ily to a 42% drop in fuel costs.

South­west and United air­lines re­ported sim­i­larly strong num­bers for the first quar­ter, tra­di­tion­ally one of the weak­est three-month pe­ri­ods for car­ri­ers.

The 2014 av­er­age do­mes­tic air fare was slightly higher than the av­er­age for 2013 of $389, ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Trans­porta­tion Statis­tics.

But when ad­justed for in­fla­tion, the av­er­age fare is down 16% from the high of $467 in 2000, the fed­eral agency said.

De­mand for air travel is ex­pected to re­main strong. A sur­vey by the travel web­site TripAd­vi­sor found that 92% of web­site mem­bers who were ques­tioned said they plan to take a do­mes­tic flight in 2015, up from 89% who said they flew do­mes­ti­cally last year.

Among those who plan to travel, 67% said they ex­pect to take an in­ter­na­tional flight, com­pared with 60% who did so in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the TripAd­vi­sor sur­vey of more than 2,700 web­site mem­bers.

“This year, we’re see­ing more in­ter­est in in­ter­na­tional f lights as fa­vor­able ex­change rates have piqued the in­ter­est of U.S. fliers in trav­el­ing abroad,” said Bryan Saltzburg, gen­eral manager of TripAd­vi­sor Flights.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.