The growth in air travel has not lived up to predictions issued in 2000, writes columnist Joe Brancatelli. "[W]ith energy costs accounting for as much as 40 percent of an airline's operating budget, oil at today's price of about $97 a barrel isn't exactly encouraging carriers to keep fares low," he writes. "Higher fares don't motivate many discretionary travelers and they make business travelers much more careful when weighing the value of a trip."

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