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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
US airlines cut fares to spur travel
American Airlines
American Airlines is cutting fares by 50% to boost travel
US air carriers are reaching out to all members of the flying public in the hopes of getting both business and leisure travellers back into the air.

New Airfare Deals
United and Continental offer 50% discount for business travel
American cuts fares by 50% on all domestic coach flights
Delta to give away 10,000 flights to New York
AirTran offers discounts of up to 35%
Struggling with reduced passenger volume in the wake of the 11 September terror attacks, major airlines throughout the US are launching discount fare programmes.

American Airlines and United Airlines, repsictively the nation's largest and second-largest air carriers, along with number four Continental have said they will cut fares by up to 50% in an effort to boost traffic.

Boosting business travel

United and Continental discounts apply to business travellers, who are generally a greater source of revenue since they fly on the spur of the moment and payer higher fares.

"Business travel is starting to return and price stimulation will help that," said ABN Amro airline analyst Ray Neidl.

The new fares are to start on Monday and continue to the end of the year.

In order to qualify for the reduced fares, business travellers must be willing to book 21 days in advance of their departure date - something many business travellers are reluctant to do.

"Twenty-one days is way out there for a business traveller," said airline analyst Terri Trippler of OneTravel.com.

"There is a big difference in the 14 and 21 day advance when it comes to business travel," he said.

To accommodate those passengers, United and Continental said it would offer business travellers a 25% discount for travel booked 10 days before departure.

Reduced number of flights

All major airlines, with the exception of Southwest Airlines, have announced major cutbacks in the number of flights over the past two weeks.

Many airlines are running just 70% of the number of flights offered prior to 11 September, and flights have averaged 40% to 50% of capacity.

In addition, US carriers have announced combined layoffs totalling more than 120,000 in an effort to curb costs after the devastating attacks on New York and Washington.

Delta giveaway

Delta Air Lines, the third-largest US airline, has said it will give away 10,000 tickets in an effort to spur tourism in New York City, where nearly 6,000 people died after two hijacked planes slammed into the Twin Towers.

Delta has a huge stake in New York travel.

It operates one of the industry's most profitable routes - its shuttle service between New York and Washington, DC, and New York and Boston.

Delta also operates out of all three New York area airports - La Guardia, John F Kennedy and Newark.

Now that President Bush has said Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will reopen just outside Washington DC, Delta, as well as US Airways, can resume shuttle flights.

See also:

03 Oct 01 | South Asia
India reports hijacked plane
03 Oct 01 | Americas
US airlines to reinforce cockpits
23 Sep 01 | Business
Airlines receive $15bn aid boost
20 Sep 01 | Business
Airlines slash thousands of jobs
19 Sep 01 | Business
US aviation crisis deepens
17 Sep 01 | Business
Airline reservations slump
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