Delta, US Airways see strong travel demand

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rising fares haven’t kept passengers away, judging by financial results at Delta Air Lines and US Airways.

Both airlines reported quarterly profits on Wednesday. And both said travel demand appears to be holding up, suggesting that planes will be full and fares will be higher for the busy summer travel season.

Delta, the nation’s second-biggest airline, said it will reduce flying as much as 3 percent during the quarter that ends in June. The idea is that travelers will pay more for the remaining seats. So far, that appears to be working.

Delta earned $124 million for the most recent quarter and US Airways earned $48 million. Both airlines lost money a year ago, and both benefited from special items for their quarterly profit this year.

Delta President Ed Bastian said per-mile yields are rising for April and May, and that Delta expects a “solidly profitable” second quarter, too.

Airlines have had three broad-based fare increases so far this year, according to a tally by JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker. Another one last week appears to have failed.

However, fare sales are fewer, said US Airways President Scott Kirby. And some airlines are restoring one-week advance purchase requirements on cheaper fares that had sometimes been available on the day of the flight, he said.

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