Sky High: Huntsville International Airport Most Expensive In U.S.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville International Airport is back on top of a notorious and all-too familiar list.

New numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that Huntsville's airport is the nation's most expensive when it comes to catching a flight.

According to the DOT, the average airfare out of Huntsville International Airport stood at a whopping $522 in the third quarter of 2012, tops among all airports in the United States. The average national airfare was $367.

Airport officials continue to blame Huntsville's disproportionate number of business travelers for the unusually high fares.  Roughly three out of every five air passengers in Huntsville fall into the business category, a much higher ratio compared to most other airports.

"It's disheartening that we've gone back up to number one," said airport spokeswoman Barbie Peek. "We have so many business travelers that have to travel at the last minute that it does influence and impact how our fares are calculated in the market... We have ongoing conversations and communications not only with our existing carriers, but other potential carriers. It's a precarious position going into 2013 because we don't have as many choices in the low-cost arena as we have in the past."

AirTran became the third low-cost carrier to exit the Huntsville market after the airline ceased operations in north Alabama last year. The airline merged with Southwest, which opted not to remain in town.

Cincinnati, Houston Bush, Washington Dulles and Memphis were the other airports that rounded out the most expensive list.  All figures were based on the most recent data, which was from the third quarter of 2012.

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