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Fare experts said Delta started the increase on Monday and was matched by American.

It’s the second big increase in fares in as many weeks. Airlines eliminated many flights when oil prices were high and the economy was weak, giving them power to raise fares now that planes are more crowded and travel demand is rebounding.

JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker said it made sense for Delta and American to target corporate travelers, who are considered less sensitive to price increases. He said it also might indicate that airlines have raised vacation fares as much as they can without causing a loss of revenue - presumably by hurting ticket sales.

American Airlines spokesman Ed Martelle said the increases covered first-class, business-class and 7-day advance-purchase tickets. Flights up to 500 miles were boosted $20 each way, those from 501 to 1,500 miles were raised $40 each way, and flights longer than 1,500 miles increased by $60 each way, he said.

Last week, United and Continental led an increase of $20 to $60 per round trip on pricey tickets typically bought by business travelers. Delta and American both matched that hike last week.


Audit: Contractor, human error caused outage

RICHMOND | Human error by contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. was to blame for a computer system crash that idled many state government agencies for days in August, according to an external audit completed at Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s request.

The audit, by technology consulting firm Agilysis and released Tuesday, found that Northrop Grumman had not planned for an event such as the failure of a memory board, aggravating the failure. It also found that the data loss and the delay in restoration resulted from a failure to follow industry best practices.

At least two dozen agencies were affected by the late-August statewide crash of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. The crash paralyzed the departments of Taxation and Motor Vehicles, leaving people unable to renew driver’s licenses. The disruption also affected 13 percent of Virginia’s executive branch file servers.

Officials have said the outage originated with a data storage unit roughly the size of eight refrigerators in a data center in Chester.

From wire dispatches and staff reports