Published airfares are poised to rise again this week, following widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, according to industry analysts. At the same time, crude oil prices this morning moved lower after a widely reported decision by the U.S. Department of Energy to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Details from DOE are expected later today.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines today confirmed that it had changed minimum-stay requirements in certain markets to and from Atlanta. The new two-night requirement "if matched by others in the industry, would add $500 million to revenues annually," wrote Helane Becker, analyst with The Benchmark Co., in a report released today.

Also, J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Jamie Baker today said "most leisure fares jumped another $5 one-way in the past several days, following AMR's lead from last week."

Cheapseats airfare expert Terry Trippler told BTN that while he had not observed any across-the-board fare hikes this week, limited price increases were filed by both American and United.

"I am expecting a big one this weekend," he said, referring to a fresh airfare hike as high as $25 each way. "These $5 and $10 increases won't cut it. That is like putting a Band-Aid on a severed artery."

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