Sky Harbor summer airfare up 10.9 percent in 2013

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Summer is a busy time at Sky Harbor International Airport as desert dwellers try to escape the triple-digit temperatures.

But people who flew out of the Phoenix airport last summer likely spent more on plane tickets than did summer 2012 travelers.

Last year, the average domestic airfare out of Sky Harbor was about $363 for the third quarter, which runs from July through September. That's a 10.9 percent increase from the 2012 third quarter average of about $327, the United States Department of Transportation reported Tuesday.

Sky Harbor saw the third largest year-over-year increase of the country's 20 busiest airports, following Atlanta, Ga. (22.6 percent) and Orlando, Fla. (11.9 percent).

The U.S. Department of Transportation attributed the increase at Sky Harbor to major airlines significantly reducing the number of flights due to the recession, higher fuel prices, and better growth elsewhere.

Of the country's top 100 airports, Bellingham, Wash. saw the largest year-over-year decrease in summer airfare at 16.4 percent. The average domestic fare was about $208 in summer 2013.

Huntsville, Ala. saw only a 5.9 percent increase but reported the highest average domestic fare at about $559. Although Atlantic City, N.J. reported the third highest increase (16.5 percent) of the top 100 airports, it had the lowest airfare at about $157.

U.S. passengers as a whole saw an increase in average domestic airfare from summer 2012 to 2013. The average climbed from about $371 to $390, a 5.1 percent increase.