American, Southwest Airlines signal rising airline fares ahead

DALLAS — American and Southwest are expecting average airfares to move higher the rest of this year, which would mark a shift from fare wars that have cut into profits and created turbulence for airline stock prices.

Both carriers said Thursday that they see a key measure of revenue per mile rising in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier. They said demand for both business and leisure travel remains strong.

The comments signal an upbeat end to the third-quarter earnings season for airlines, which hit bottom last week when United executives gave a glum revenue forecast and failed to reassure investors that they had a plan for success.