Local News

RDU Feeling The Effects Of Ailing Airline Industry

Posted September 20, 2001

— The massive layoffs in the airline industry will affect everyone who travels. The airlines are reducing flights by as much as 25 percent in a struggle to become profitable.

The impact is already being felt at

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

where the number of flights have been reduced and some direct routes have been eliminated.

In the short term, air travelers may find some lower fares, but in the long run, flying will cost flyers more time and more money.

Airports like RDU that rely on business travel will be hit especially hard by the reduction of service. As airlines struggle to get back in the black, they will cut one out of every four flights. Some experts believe they will encourage travelers to get back in the air by

cutting their prices

as well.

"I think you're going to see all kinds of deals," travel agent Tony Maupin. "It will be less expensive. It will be a challenge to the airlines who are losing billions of dollars a day to lure business travelers back onto flights."

Travelers might pay less, but it will take them a lot longer to get where they are going. Fewer direct flights means more connections.

Service will be reduced from RDU to major cities like Dallas, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. Direct service to Florida will be all but eliminated.

Although you may find a bargain fare in the next few weeks, you could pay for it later during the holiday travel season.

"I think you may see higher fares during Thanksgiving and Christmas when people have to travel to visit relatives and take vacations," says Maupin.

Experts say having the low-fare carrier Southwest at RDU could force other airlines to hold down their prices. While other airlines cut flights and jobs, Southwest is running at nearly 100 percent.

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