Huntsville International Airport average air fare second most expensive in the nation

Airport passengersView full sizePassengers at Huntsville International Airport paid an average of $473 for a round-trip ticket in the third quarter of 2011. That average has not changed in three quarters. but the airport’s ranking has fluctuated from fourth place in the second quarter to second place in the first quarter. (The Huntsville Times/File photo)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – The entrance of low-fare carrier AirTran Airways into the Huntsville market in May 2010 is credited with helping Huntsville International Airport give up its spot as the most expensive average air fare in the country.

It may be too early to know what will happen to the airport’s average air fare once AirTran quits flying in and out of Huntsville in August.

But, the airport has climbed in the rankings to once again claim a spot among the leaders.

The airport’s average fare of $473 in the third quarter of 2011 placed it second in the nation, following only Cincinnati’s average of $488, according to a release Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

It wouldn’t have taken much for Huntsville to fall down the list. Memphis’ average was $1 less than Huntsville’s, Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston was $3 less and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., was $4 less.

The cheapest average air fare for the quarter was $167 in Atlantic City, N.J.

Huntsville’s average air fare has not budged in nine months, but it’s national ranking by the bureau has.

The airport’s average air fare was $473 in both the second and first quarters of 2011, but its ranking fluctuated from fourth place in the second quarter and second place in the first quarter.

The airport held the dubious distinction of having the most expensive average air fares in the country for 18 months until surrendering the title in the third quarter of 2010 when it fell to No. 3 with a $449 average.

It followed that drop by dropping out of the top five in the fourth quarter of 2010 with a $424 average fare.

The bureau surveys the top 100 airports in the country based on domestic itinerary fares which includes the airline’s fare and taxes and fees charged by government entities. It does not include fees charged by airlines.

The $361 average air fare of the 100 airports surveyed in the third quarter reflected a 6.2 percent increase from the average fare of $340 in the third quarter of 2010.

Huntsville fared better with than more than half of the airports in the survey when you look at the increase in average air fares over 11 years.

The bureau said Huntsville’s average air fare increased 5.2 percent from $449 in the third quarter of 2000 to $473 in the third quarter of 2011. The rate of increase placed the airport 60th out of 100.

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