updated 10/26/2007 1:04:29 PM ET 2007-10-26T17:04:29

Continental Airlines Inc. raised nearly all of its domestic round-trip fares by $10 late Thursday, marking the latest in a series of airline price increases in recent weeks.

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If matched by other major carriers, as has largely been the case with previous fare hikes, the increase would be the industry's sixth since Labor Day, said Rick Seaney, chief executive of airline pricing Web site FareCompare.com.

Continental spokeswoman Sarah Anthony confirmed the move Friday.

"Basically the fare increase is across the board domestically," she said. Both leisure and business fares are affected. Higher fuel costs prompted the change, Anthony said.

Airlines have consistently cited increasing fuel prices as justification for higher ticket prices, while industrywide efforts to trim capacity have helped those fare hikes stick.

Crude prices closed above $90 for the first time Thursday, and rocketed to a record $92.22 overnight. By late morning Friday, light sweet crude for December delivery was trading at $91.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

JPMorgan airline analyst Jamie Baker said Continental's price increase follows its "comparatively modest matching" of a similar move by UAL Corp.'s United Airlines last week.

"It is unclear whether Continental's increase will compel others to lift fares, or is simply an effort by Continental to mark its fares to market," Baker said in a research note.

United last Thursday raised its one-way fares by $5 to $10, prompting similar moves by several major carriers. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines spearheaded a similar round of fare hikes the week before.

Low-cost carrier Jet Blue Airways Corp. earlier this week raised some fares by $5 to $10 on 70 to 75 percent of its routes, spokeswoman Alison Eshelman said. She said higher fuel costs and recent rounds of fare increases by competitors prompted the change. All the carrier's Florida routes, as well as most transcontinental and some shorter routes were affected, Eshelman said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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