February 23, 2005

As it fights to emerge from bankruptcy, US Airways faces a two-pronged attack from low-cost competitors Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways. Last Thursday, Southwest announced it would begin operating flights from Pittsburgh -- once the biggest hub of US Airways -- to Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas, with fares beginning as low as $29 one-way on May 4. "Southwest's introductory fares are a great bargain; and no matter how far you fly, we know when choosing an airline, fare is the number one driver," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's CEO. On the same day, AirTran will begin offering flights from Charlotte -- another major US Airways hub -- to Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington and Boston for as little as $59 each way. "Charlotte has been plagued by the highest fares in the country for a number of years," said Robert L. Fornaro, AirTran president and COO. "That changes May 4."