Latest Round of Airline Fare Hikes Stumble

Another round of airline fare increases faltered Monday as two carriers backed down, including Continental Airlines Inc., which had started the price hikes of $10 per round trip on many U.S. flights to offset rising fuel costs.


Southwest, one of few profitable U.S. carriers, has largely insulated itself by taking long-term options to buy fuel at set prices. The Dallas-based carrier hedged 85 percent of its fuel purchases for 2005 at the equivalent of $26 per barrel of oil, a gamble that has paid huge dividends.

Continental shares rose 16 cents, to close at $10.74 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. AMR shares gained 22 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $9.03; Delta shares rose 10 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $4.20. Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest's shares gained 21 cents or 3.1 percent, to close at $6.92 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of Southwest fell 19 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $14.31 on the NYSE; and JetBlue gained 3 cents, to $17.40 on the Nasdaq.

Associated Press writer Pam Easton in Houston contributed to this report.

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