What"s ahead for airline passengers this fall as airlines continue to squeeze costs? Fewer nonstop flights and possibly higher ticket prices and fees.
There may also be less convenient travel options.
The reason: major carriers are making big capacity cuts this fall for the second year in a row, says the AP.
"Earnings reports for the April-June quarter this week showed airlines are desperate to raise revenue as they head into their traditionally slow period," says the wire service.
Six of nine major US airlines reported profits in the quarter, but sales were down for most as a result of weak demand and lower fares.
For seven US airlines and their regional affiliates, the June yield — or average price a person pays to fly one mile — was almost 19 percent lower than a year earlier, according to the Air Transport Association.
"I think you're really going to see overall less service, but you'll still have service," said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Co.'s executive vice president of strategy and planning.
US domestic carriers provided 14.2 billion available seat miles a week in the fourth quarter of 2007. The figure two years later is expected to drop to 12.4 billion, rivaling post-9/11 numbers, ATA data shows.
The coming hits are broad-based. In the US; some parts of the Midwest and leisure points in Florida and Nevada will see reduced service. Overseas, parts of Europe and Asia will see big cuts.
In most cases, travelers will still be able to get from one destination to another, but they may have to take another carrier or connect through another airport, which means layovers and longer trips. That could be a hard sell for business travelers.
by David Wilkening
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
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