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How low-cost US airlines clip the wings of their big rivals

They continue to play a role in moderating ticket costs even as mergers reduce competition significantly

Spirit Airlines began operating flights from Philadelphia to Detroit in April 2016, offering one-way fares for less than US$100, in some cases. Its move into the route has pushed down average ticket costs at all carriers on it.

New York

FOR more than three years, the average one-way fare between Detroit and Philadelphia never dipped below US$308, and sometimes moved higher, topping US$385 at one point.

But then, early in 2016, fares suddenly started to fall, according to data from the Bureau of...

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