American and Southwest raises base fares by $5 each way

American and Southwest are raising fares by $5 each way, the latest move by airlines to reverse a price slump that has lasted nearly two years.

American Airlines Group raised prices first this week and Southwest Airlines followed suit, according to J.P. Morgan Securities and FareCompare.

Both airlines – which have service out of Wichita’s Eisenhower National Airport – confirmed the price increase.

Fares have been falling since airlines began adding flights and seats faster than the growth in travel demand.

Earlier this week, Southwest Airlines shares tumbled 8.5 percent after the company gave a weak forecast for a key revenue figure in the fourth quarter. The forecast suggested that lower fares are likely to last through year’s end.

Even when airlines announce increases in their base rates, that doesn’t mean customers pay more. Airlines run frequent fare sales, especially when demand is weak.

Still, the fare hike led J.P. Morgan to upgrade Southwest shares to “overweight.”