FAA forecast: High air fares are here to stay

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(AP) WASHINGTON - Air fares are expected to remain high for most of this decade, according to a government forecast.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it expects airline traffic to double while capacity shrinks. In its annual economic analysis, the FAA predicted travelers won't get much relief until airlines start getting more competition, which is years off.

Airlines are expected to keep planes flying as full as possible, matching consumer demand to available seats.

In the near term, more airline mergers and consolidation will reduce the number of cities served as well as the number of flights in the nation's air travel network.

The agency forecasts the number of miles flown by passengers to increase, from 815 billion in 2011 to 1.57 trillion in 2032.