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All Things Travel: Airlines Look To Boston For Growth

BOSTON (CBS) - The three major U.S. domestic airlines have plans for Boston and that will likely mean lower prices for passengers.

American, Delta and United see growth at Logan Airport. Fuel prices remain low, the Massachusetts economy is hot and no one airline dominates the market.

JetBlue ranks number one at Logan in the passenger count but ranks number five on a national count. The airline has been shifting some of its resources from Boston to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

The latest airline to get ready for growth is United.

Last week, the airline strengthened its management team and recently signed new labor agreements that will mean smoother ground and air operations. United named Scott Kirby as its new president. That move was totally unexpected and took place in a matter of days.

United had been slowed when its CEO Oscar Munoz underwent a heart transplant, its former president was forced out and new directors were appointed. In late August, United caught a big break. It grabbed Kirby from American Airlines.

Kirby had resigned from American when he lost out in a management shakeup. Why he had no non-compete employment contract is anyone's guess. United got a very experienced executive to run day-to-day operations.

American Airlines meanwhile has successfully merged its operations with US Airways and is concentrating its operations on taking delivery of new fuel-efficient aircraft. It has not added new routes from Logan Airport.

Delta Airlines, which currently ranks third in passenger traffic at Logan, plans major new routes in 2017 that will add more than 10-percent more seats. Operating out of Terminal A, Delta will start daily service to San Francisco, a flight to Nashville and a number of weekend flights to the Caribbean this winter.

Delta suffered a major computer failure last summer that cancelled hundreds of flights, stranded thousands of passengers and cost the airline $100 million in the third quarter.

All three airlines are targeting business travelers who bring in more revenue and are seeking a larger share of all travelers from the low-cost airlines JetBlue and Southwest in Boston.

The passenger count at Logan Airport should show an increase of one million by the end of this year. The numbers may slow next year but the battle for new passengers will increase.

"All Things Travel" reports with Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ NewsRadio 1030

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