Northwest Airlines has matched the fare increase announced last week by Continental Airlines and United Airlines, and signaled that belt-tightening...

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MINNEAPOLIS — Northwest Airlines has matched the fare increase announced last week by Continental Airlines and United Airlines, and signaled that belt-tightening measures are on the way, too.

United and Continental raised some round-trip fares as much as $50 heading into the weekend.

Oil has been selling at record highs above $100 a barrel, pushing up the cost of jet fuel and cutting into the income of airlines.

Doug Steenland, chief executive of Northwest Airlines, said the airline will spend $1.7 billion more on fuel than it expected when it emerged from bankruptcy in May.

“Airfares have to go up, and our passengers will need to pay more. Airlines simply cannot absorb these cost increases,” Steenland told workers in a hot-line message recorded over the weekend.

Higher prices will result in fewer passengers, Steenland said, and the size of the airline will need to reflect that.