Dallas – Fourth-quarter profit at United Airlines jumped 46 percent and the carrier signaled that average fares would inch higher early this year.
Like its rivals, United is benefiting from strong demand for travel, which is filling more seats.
United is showing more ability to handle fare wars with discount carriers including Spirit Airlines. A key measure of average prices, revenue for every seat flown one mile, inched 0.2 percent higher in the fourth quarter. United predicted the figure would rise around 1 percent in the first quarter.
Airlines are also dealing with higher fuel costs – they were up more than 20 percent from a year ago at United.
But United executives sounded confident that they can hold other costs flat or lower on a per mile basis over the next three years.