Love Field fares remain the cheapest

Jul. 26--The latest numbers show that Dallas Love Field once again has the lowest air fares among the 100 largest U.S. airports, while Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had the 13th highest fares.

However, Love Field's average fare of $238.14 was 10.6 percent higher than a year earlier, while D/FW Airport's average fare of $422.07 was 7.1 percent lower than during the first of quarter 2006, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics said Wednesday.

The fare numbers are not adjusted for the length of flights. Airports with more long-haul flights, for example, will show higher fares than airports with a greater percentage of shorter flights, all other factors remaining equal.

Love Field and D/FW fares both have been affected by a loosening in the law that restricts airline flights out of Love Field.

The effect has been to increase the number of longer, higher-priced flights at Love Field.

But with Southwest Airlines Co.'s entry into longer-haul markets, competitors at D/FW Airport have had to match Southwest's lower-fare structure on many more routes.

"It reinforces our position as the leading low-fare carrier and proves that the Southwest effect is alive and well," Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said. The Southwest effect, a term coined by government researchers, refers to the growth in passengers traveling whenever Southwest entered a market and offered lower fares than competitors had been charging.

The most expensive airport in the United States was Cincinnati at $526.13, followed by Anchorage, Alaska; Honolulu; New York Kennedy; and San Francisco.

The cheapest fares were found at Love Field, followed by Chicago Midway, Houston Hobby and two New York airports, Islip and Buffalo.

Overall, first-quarter fares averaged $379.83, down 0.6 percent from first quarter 2006.

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