updated 6/4/2004 8:23:18 AM ET 2004-06-04T12:23:18

Continental Airlines Inc. is again raising its fares in response to expensive jet-fuel costs, hoping to make the higher fares stick.

The company has announced several similar increases in recent weeks, with some competitors matching, but others balking. The previous efforts have collapsed days after the increases.

Continental said it would increase the fares $10 each way for trips under 1,000 miles and $20 each way for those over 1,000 miles. The increases are effective immediately.

In April, Houston-based Continental tried to raise a fuel surcharge that it adds to tickets from $20 to $30 per round trip for most travel within the United States and Canada. But it dropped the increase after rivals declined to match it.

Continental has warned of sizable losses this quarter, and for the full year, because of its fuel costs. The carrier says it faces an additional $700 million tab for fuel this year.

On Tuesday, the price of a barrel of oil reached $42.33, the highest closing price in more than 20 years of trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude futures retreated to $39.28 per barrel Thursday.

It was unclear Thursday night if Fort Worth-based American Airlines — the world’s largest carrier — would again raise its rates. American did not immediately return calls for comment.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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