Independence Demise Leaves Charlotte Airport with Open Gate

Independence Air's long-predicted demise leaves Charlotte with just one low-fare carrier, AirTran Airways, and could lead to higher fares between Charlotte and many cities in the Northeast.

Before Monday's announcement that it is shutting, Independence Air had cut its Charlotte-to-Washington service to three daily flights, down from eight this summer. In a city with some of the highest airfares in the country, Independence's arrival in October 2004 led to lower fares. Rival US Airways, for instance, slashed Charlotte-to-Washington fares by 43 percent between the first quarter of 2004 and the same period in 2005, according to federal data.

On Monday night, the cheapest nonstop round trip to Washington's Dulles airport in mid-January cost slightly less than $150 on United Airlines and US Airways. United and Independence recently offered fares less than $100.

Independence's exit also leaves open a gate on Concourse A at Charlotte's airport, which could be used for another carrier's arrival or expansion.

Charlotte Observer

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