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CONTINENTAL WON'T RAISE SUMMER DISCOUNT FARES

Continental Airlines canceled a planned increase in its summer discount fares after several competitors refused to follow suit with their own fare hikes.

"We can't afford to be non-competitive in our prices," John Nelson, Continental's executive vice president for marketing, said this week in announcing that the carrier would not increase fares.Nelson said Continental decided to back off the fare hikes because most of the other carriers weren't imposing increases.

Last month, the Houston-based airline owned by Texas Air Corp. announced that its popular Max Saver tickets bought after May 26 would increase by as much as $80.

Continental's decision to raise summer fares was expected to kick off similar increases at other airlines. But most carriers didn't match Continental's plan.

Trans World Airlines and United Airlines said Monday they would not raise summer fares. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and USAir rejected the move earlier this month. Braniff, which said earlier it would match Continental's rates in cities where they compete, also is reconsidering.

Air fares typically increase during the summer with demand, and major airlines usually match each other's fare increases almost immediately.