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US Airways reporting rise in leisure air travel demand

In recent weeks, bookings for leisure air travel in the US have begun to rise, although demand for premium-class travel remains depressed, according to comments by US Airways chief executive Doug Parker.

“We have seen a nice uptick in leisure demand, leisure bookings, in the last couple of weeks which we believe is encouraging,” Parker said to reporters in Detroit this week, at the sidelines of the National Summit, a meeting of leading manufacturers.

He added: “It would be more encouraging if it were business [demand],” noting: “There is something going on here that is different than we had seen in the last few months.”

According to the airline executive, the rise in leisure bookings has come about without additional incentives. He cautioned, however, that the trend was only a couple of weeks old, but added that the volume was significant.

The airline industry in the US, as in other parts of the world, has been hit hard by rising fuel prices coupled with declining demand for air travel. Although the price of fuel is down from a peak reached in July of 2008, oil prices are on the rise, with recent figures above $70 per barrel.

Parker went on to say: “The industry’s revenue shortfall this year has been due to the dropoff in business demand,” adding: “It really happened in the early part of the year, January and February, and hasn’t come back.”

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