A United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner touches down at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, in this April 11, 2015, file photo. REUTERS/Louis Nastro
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The fare fight reprises a similar battle that erupted two years ago, one that dented industry revenues for more than 18 months.Fares – and airline stock prices – have shrunk accordingly. United shares have lost 28 percent over the past three months, given the zeal with which the Chicago-based carrier has taken the pricing battle to Spirit, where the share loss has been 41 percent. American and Southwest shares have declined 15 and 13 percent in the same period, respectively, while Delta has lost 10 percent and Allegiant 17 percent.In the second quarter, Spirit Airlines Inc. had a cost per seat-mile, excluding fuel, of 5.83 cents, compared with 10.28 cents at United, which has a cost structure comparable to those of American and Delta Air Lines Inc.Delta, for example, holds roughly 75 percent market share at its four largest hubs, while American is at 91 percent in Charlotte, according to data compiled by Morgan Stanley.When Spirit or Frontier entered with daily service, according to an analysis of fares in 2014-15 by consulting firm ICF International Inc., fares at eight U.S. legacy hubs dropped an average of 20 percent.
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