JETS LINE UP FOR TAKE OFF
Ben Margot  /  AP file
The carriers raised fares three times in the past month, in steps of $10 to $20 per round trip each time.
updated 4/1/2005 4:54:42 PM ET 2005-04-01T21:54:42

The airlines are at it again.

The major U.S. carriers are trying to raise fares for the fourth time in a month, by $10 per round trip on many domestic routes, including Alaska and Hawaii flights. The airlines blame the rising cost of jet fuel.

Oil prices surged to a record high close Friday , above $57 a barrel, a sign of even higher prices for fuel, which accounts for about one-fifth of an airline’s costs.

Delta Air Lines Inc. and UAL Corp.’s United Airlines led the way with increases late Thursday, and US Airways Group Inc., Northwest Airlines Corp., Continental Airlines Inc., and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines matched the higher fares Friday, according to Terry Trippler, who runs a Web site that tracks air fares.

Officials at Delta, American, Northwest and US Airways confirmed that they had raised many domestic fares by $10 per round trip.

United and Continental officials did not immediately return calls for comment.

The carriers had raised fares three times in the past month, in steps of $10 to $20 per round trip each time.

The big carriers, however, avoided raising fares on some routes where they compete directly with low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines Co. and JetBlue Airways Corp.

Airline officials say they must raise fares to cover the rising cost of fuel. Last year, U.S. carriers spent an estimated $6 billion more for fuel than they did in 2003, and analysts have predicted large losses for the carriers again this year.

Airlines also have more pricing power because their planes are flying fuller.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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