Airfares rise by as much as $20, and could go higher

Aug. 7--U.S. air carriers, including American Airlines, raised fares by as much as $20 over the weekend, while worries about the oil supply from Alaska could push ticket prices even higher.

Fort Worth-based American raised prices by $20 on most round-trip tickets for flights of more than 1,000 miles. Round-trip prices on shorter flights were increased by $10, said spokesman Tim Smith.

American was matching a price increase imposed by United Airlines late Friday. Most major carriers, including Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines, also matched the increase.

It was the eighth broad price increase by the major airlines this year, according to airline analyst Jamie Baker of J.P. Morgan Securities.

Problems with the oil supply coming from Alaska could spur additional fare hikes down the road. British Petroleum said Sunday that it will shut down half of its production in the Prudhoe Bay oil field because of corrosion in a pipeline, which is likely to push oil prices higher.

"If oil prices go up we will certainly see some movement in refined jet fuel prices as well," Smith said.

Airlines have pointed to fuel prices as the driving force behind most of the fare increases this year.

Shares of AMR Corp., American’s parent company (ticker: AMR) were down 31 cents, at $21.59, in mid-afternoon trading.


Trebor Banstetter, (817) 390-7064