For the second time in two weeks, America West Airlines launched an aggressive fare sale Monday, this time cutting first-class tickets by as much as 70 percent.
Last week, the Tempe-based carrier returned to the rock-bottom fares it said weren't profitable during the busy summer travel season, offering one-way fares from $29 to $99.
America West returned to profitability in the second quarter after 10 quarters in the red. The second quarter is usually the strongest for leisure air travel, which levels off from late summer until the holiday season. The first-class sale fares can be purchased through Aug. 25 for flights through Nov. 24, America West said in a statement. Prices include a $999 one-way fare from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Los Angeles; a $499 fare from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon; and $149 from Los Angeles to Phoenix.
AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, the world's largest carrier, matched the fare on "certain competitive routes," said Todd Burke, American spokesman. US Airways Group was not offering similar first-class rates, spokesman David Castelveter said. Other major U.S. airlines didn't comment on America West's fare. Ron Cole, America West vice president of sales, said the fares on sale were not broad enough to attract wide-scale retaliation.
The airline hopes the first-class sale will lure passengers who would normally fly coach on one of the larger carriers, introducing them to America West, Cole said.