Alaska Airlines said yesterday that it is boosting fares because of rising fuel prices. The systemwide increase at the nation's ninth-largest...

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Alaska Airlines said yesterday that it is boosting fares because of rising fuel prices.

The systemwide increase at the nation’s ninth-largest carrier would add $3 to $5 to every one-way trip, said Amanda Tobin, spokeswoman for Seattle-based Alaska.

It was one of several U.S. airlines that kicked off the summer with a round of fare increases, blaming higher fuel costs.

The increases began Tuesday night when American Airlines and United Airlines, the industry’s No. 1 and 2 carriers, posted higher fares effective immediately. They continued yesterday when Alaska, Delta Air Lines and US Airways Group matched them or made similar price boosts.

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“Raising ticket prices is nearly always a last resort, but the reality is that oil prices have risen so dramatically that airlines have to recover some of those costs,” Tobin said.

Tobin noted that over a year, a one-cent increase in fuel price per gallon adds $3.5 million to Alaska’s annual fuel costs.

Fuel prices have skyrocketed as the cost of oil has risen to nearly $60 a barrel. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, jet-fuel prices in Los Angeles averaged $1.73 per gallon on Tuesday, up from $1.09 a year ago and about 75 cents around the same time in 2003.

Alaska’s sister carrier, Horizon Air, has not decided whether it will increase fares, spokeswoman Jen McSkimming said.

United said its fare increase averages 3 percent on most domestic and international flights, with sale fares and some specialty fares unaffected.

American increased most U.S. fares by $5 one-way and $10 round-trip, although it did not raise the highest walk-up fares as United did, according to spokesman Tim Wagner.

American’s average one-way fare is about $150, so the increase also works out to about 3 percent, Wagner said.

Following the industry leaders, Delta raised its fares $5 one-way and $10 round-trip on all flights, and US Airways Group increased some first-class fares in the Caribbean.

Northwest Airlines said it was studying the fare increases.

Southwest Airlines, the discount-fare leader, did not match the higher prices. Spokeswoman Brandy King said the carrier had no plans to implement a fare increase.