Well, we've finally reached the tipping point when it comes to fares in Springfield—in the past two months Springfield customers have started to push back. They're flying less. Our May total passenger numbers were down 16 percent. This follows a decline in April of 13 percent. We haven't seen two consecutive months of double digit declines since 2001—in the aftermath of September 11. This time the decline is the result of high fares—fares driven up by the high cost of a barrel of oil. In the past year alone, the price of jet fuel has risen 80 percent. As a result, in the first quarter alone, the airlines raised the cost of fares nationwide ten to thirteen percent. It’s expected fares will go up another ten to twenty percent---just to cover the cost of fuel. That’s the cost of fuel at current prices. What will the rest of the year bring? If energy prices continue to rise—and even if they stay where they are—here’s what to expect:
Commercial airline service in the United States will be cut 20 percent. That will affect us, but we don't know how much.
Many industry analysts expect to see several of the big airlines in bankruptcy by the end of the year…
We can expect to see more monthly declines in passenger numbers. If those numbers get bad enough we could lose destinations.
In conclusion… It’s abundantly obvious that the airlines have reached the tipping point when it comes to fares---fewer people are flying. And they (the airlines) really don't have a plan to deal with oil at $135 a barrel. The government doesn’t seem to have a plan to deal with it either.