As Fuel Soars, Airlines Clip Regional Flights

Industry braces for slow summer with 2M fewer travelers predicted
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted May 21, 2008 9:17 AM CDT
A Continental Airlines jet taxis away from a terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
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(Newser) – Soaring fuel prices have prompted airlines to cut service—sometimes completely—to some 400 cities nationwide as carriers look for ways to maximize load and cut costs, reports the New York Times. Airlines reduced flights in May by 22,900 from a year ago, a 3% decline, and discontinued service to 30 cities. Analysts say there’s more to come.

This summer—traditionally the industry’s busiest and most profitable time—is likely to disappoint, due to a sagging economy, higher ticket prices, and fewer regional stops. “Everybody expects frequent, convenient, high-quality service with great connectivity to the rest of the world,” said an industry consultant, but the days of completing travel in a single day may be gone. An industry group predicts 2 million fewer passengers than last year.