Southwest lowers fares

other airlines follow

September 26, 2001|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

DALLAS - Southwest Airlines Co. offered the first major air-fare sale since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, in a move that was quickly matched by several other carriers.

Southwest, the largest discount airline nationally and the largest carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, cut prices as low as $34 one way to lure people back onto airplanes.

The sale fares were matched by American Airlines and its TWA unit, America West, Delta, Northwest, Continental and US Airways in areas where they compete with Southwest. United Airlines went along with the fare cuts in some markets.

"In this environment, we can use all the passengers we can get," said John Hotard, a spokesman for American, which usually doesn't match Southwest's sale fares.

Passenger traffic at U.S. airlines has tumbled since the attacks, in which commercial jets were hijacked and crashed into New York's World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.

Under Southwest's sale, consumers can fly between Las Vegas and Los Angeles for $34 each way, Kansas City and Chicago's Midway Airport for $50 each way, and BWI and Los Angeles for $89 each way.

Tickets must be purchased by Oct. 11 and three days before travel, and are good for flights from Sept. 28 through Jan. 11, Southwest said. A round-trip purchase and overnight stay are required.

Southwest is offering fares as low as $30 one way when booked on its southwest.com Web site.

Southwest shares rose 31 cents to $14.06. AMR gained 34 cents to $18.64, while America West Holdings Corp., the carrier's parent, fell 85 cents, or 30 percent, to $1.99.

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