Average Atlanta air fares declined in 2015

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110418 Atlanta: A pink April moon loomed over the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport control tower Monday, April, 18, 2011. New scheduling rules for air traffic controllers aimed at reducing fatigue on the job will be rolled out Monday, beginning in Atlanta. Randy Babbitt, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, will visit control tower staff at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and FAA control facilities in Fayette and Henry counties, to kick off a nationwide tour of briefings that will unveil the new guidelines for overnight staffing. Extending hours between shifts and restricting night-time schedule swapping are among the changes. The move comes as a fifth air traffic controller in a month was reported asleep on duty: this time early Saturday morning, during a midnight shift at a regional radar facility in Miami that monitors high-altitude flights. The Miami controller didn't miss any flight calls because there were more controllers on duty, but has been suspended, FAA officials said. “We expect controllers to come to work rested and ready to work and take personal responsibility for safety in the control towers; we have zero tolerance for sleeping on the job,” Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said Sunday in a statement. “Safety is our top priority and we will continue to make whatever changes are necessary.” Already, FAA administrator Randy Babbitt and LaHood had ordered additional air traffic controllers assigned to overnight shifts at 27 airports that operated around the clock with only one controller working late. This came after a controller fell asleep early Wednesday morning at the Ren0-Tahoe International Airport and missed guiding in a medical flight. The new scheduling rules have already been put in place and will be fully in effect by the end of the week. John Spink jspink@ajc.com

Average Atlanta air fares in the second quarter of 2015 dipped below $400 for the first time since 2013, according to a new federal report.

The report from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics showed the average domestic Atlanta air fares fell to $399.67, down from $425.27 earlier in the year, adjusted for inflation. The figures released Friday were for the second quarter, the most recent data available.

Airport photo

. John Spink jspink@ajc.com

Compared to a year earlier, the second quarter average domestic air fare was down about 8 percent from $435.34 in the second quarter of 2014, according to the federal statistics.

The drop in air fares came amid a significant decline in fuel costs.

Meanwhile, ultra low-cost carriers like Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines have added flights in Atlanta and other parts of the country in the past year, adding to the competition against larger legacy carriers like Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.

Nationally, the average air fare fell to $385 in the second quarter of 2015, down 2.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Now, however, airlines are trying to increase fares again.

Delta led an air fare increase this week, raising fares $6 round trip. The move was followed by Southwest and other airlines. It was the first time since last June the airlines have succeeded in implementing a broad fare increase.


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