Data: Atlanta air fares descend 13 percent

Air fares continued to decline last year as fuel costs fell, according to newly-released federal statistics.

In Atlanta, the average fare declined to $382 in the third quarter of 2015, down nearly 13 percent from $439 a year earlier.

Nationally, the average domestic air fare decreased 6.2 percent to $372 in the third quarter of 2015, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics on Tuesday.

That’s the lowest level since 2010 adjusted for inflation. Average fares are based on round-trip tickets, unless the customer does not buy a return trip. Fares had risen after the recession amid economic recovery and a wave of industry consolidation.

Still, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and other carriers have also been eager to accrue much of the benefit from lower fuel costs, driving higher profits.

Airline executives say fares are based on supply and demand, not the cost of fuel, and the latest reports indicate that travel demand is holding up well.

However, American Airlines said Tuesday that it continued to expect unit revenue to fall by 6 percent to 8 percent in the first quarter. That mirrored a report late Monday from United Continental, which said lower average prices and a downturn in travel among people affected by the oil industry slump contributed to the drop in revenue for every seat flown one mile.

Both American and United have hubs in Texas.

— The Associated Press contributed to this article.