DALLAS – Average air fares on domestic routes have reached their highest level in the 13 years they’ve been tracked by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the DOT said Wednesday.

The department said the average domestic fares reached $352 in the second quarter, up 8.1 percent from the same period in 2007. That number beats the previous high of $348 set in first quarter 2001, just before the industry plunged into a prolonged recession.

DOT said the highest average fares were paid by passengers flying out of Cincinnati, at $595. That number represents the one-way fares or half of a round trip fare.

Dallas Love Field had the lowest average fares at $221.

It was followed by Burbank, Calif., $252; Houston Hobby, $256; Chicago Midway, $257; and Oakland, Calif.

The results underscore the success that U.S. airlines have had in raising average fares, an effort that picked up speed as the carriers dealt with sharply higher fuel prices in latter 2007 and through much of 2008.

In third-quarter earnings reports, the carriers touted their higher passenger revenues despite cuts in capacity or pullbacks in growth rates. In addition, they as a group are bringing in billions of dollars more through new fees for checking bags, better seat assignments, onboard sales and other items.

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