Memphis airport No. 8 for most expensive average fare

From The Wall Street Journal's blog The Middle Seat ...

A new analysis of average fares at U.S. airports by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics confirms what travelers have long known: Memphis International Airport is "extremely expensive." Memphis, the No. 65 airport, ranked No. 8 for an average fare of $453.73. Its peers in the top 10 of the BTS rankings fall into one of two categories:

Overall, the 10 most-expensive airports for air travel include six "fortress" hubs dominated by one airline and four small cities without much fare competition. Among the top 10, three are United-Continental hubs: Houston's Bush Intercontinental, Newark's Liberty and Washington's Dulles airports. Two Delta Air Lines hubs also make the top 10: Cincinnati and Memphis, Tenn.

Southwest Airlines' recent deal to purchase AirTran, giving Southwest a toehold at Memphis, could help matters:

"There's no getting around the fact that competition from a low-cost carrier continues to be a major factor in reducing fares," said Bob Hazel, an airport expert at consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

Of course, as the WSJ post points out, loyalty programs and other premium offerings allow the major carriers to resist price pressure from their low-cost rivals.

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