Executives at American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines are optimistic. For corporate buyers, many of whom are now in the throes of budgeting for next year, that may mean higher airfares into 2018.

Determining which way airfares will move is never easy. On top of the upward and downward pressures that observers routinely watch — supply, demand, fuel — airline executives at Alaska and United airlines offered markedly different sentiments than their peers. Demand is strong but low-cost competition depresses fares on many domestic U.S. routes, including transcons and intra-California markets. Pressure from Spirit . . .

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