US Airways Group said Thursday it had lowered fares on its hourly shuttle between New York and Boston, a route analysts say could see a low-fare battle between US Airways and JetBlue Airways.
US Air said it cut prices by 54 percent on 14-day advance purchase tickets on the shuttle route, to as low as $100 for a round trip. The airline offers 16 round-trip flights a day from New York's LaGuardia International Airport and Boston's Logan International Airport.
“I think this is very tactical, and it's addressing the price sensitive academic communities in New York and Boston,” said airline consultant Robert Mann.
He noted that the 14-day advance purchase requirement excludes many business travelers who book on short notice.
Mann said US Air's fare cut seems to be a shot at low-cost carrier JetBlue, which last week announced fall fare sales, including one on its popular New York-to-Boston service.
U.S. airlines have boosted revenue this year by cutting costs, restricting capacity and raising fares. As a result, major carriers have posted their first quarterly profits in years.
Mann said the fare sales do not represent a significant departure from the trend toward higher fares. Rather they reflect the end of the peak summer travel season, when carriers typically lower fares, he said.