Monday, January 24, 2011

Airlines' path for profits: Fly less, charge more

After a decade of multibillion-dollar losses, U.S. airlines appear to be on course to prosper for years to come for a simple reason: They fly less.

By grounding planes and eliminating flights, airlines have cut expenses and pushed fares higher. As the global economy rebounds, travel demand is rising and planes are as full as they've been in years.

Profit margins at big airlines are the highest in at least a decade, according to the government. The eight major U.S. airlines are forecast to earn more than $5 billion this year and $5.6 billion in 2012.

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