National Airlines cuts more fares

Nov 13, 2001 7:45 AM

Vowing to boost air travel, National Airlines announced it is acquiring new planes and slashing more fares.

The Las Vegas-based carrier’s reorganization plan includes the purchase of additional smaller jetliners to complement its Boeing 757s. The planes will be used on shorter routes and, perhaps, a return to Washington D.C.’s National Airport. Meantime, National will expand its fleet of 15 B757s to nearly 50 by mid-2007.

President Michael Conway said the airline, currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, expects to incur approximately $30 million in losses due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said that will be partially offset by $22 million in grants from the federal government.

On Monday, the airline announced it would offer no-advance purchase fares as low as $39 each way, with the purchase of a roundtrip ticket, for travel between Los Angeles and Las Vegas during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Other discount deals include $139 fares each way, with a roundtrip ticket, for travel to three East Coast destinations ”” New York, Philadelphia and Miami. Tickets must be purchased by Nov. 22.

Previous promotions increased National’s traffic in the wake of Terror Tuesday. The airline reported a load factor of 78.2 percent for October, more than 10 points higher than October 2000.

“Our ”˜Get America Flying’ campaign proved that people are willing to fly, given the incentive’’ Conway said. “While our average fare for October was down due to this offer, we gained the support of many new customers, travel agents and other businesses.

“Since Oct. 1, National has carried more than 260,000 passengers, many of whom experienced National for the first time. During this timeframe we were especially pleased to improve upon our industry-leading flight completion performance: We have had only one canceled flight out of the 2,001 scheduled flights for a schedule completion rate of 99.95 percent.’’

National’s reorganization plan ”” if supported by its lessors and largest creditor, Harrah’s Entertainment ”” is ticketed for court approval Dec. 28.