Airline summer travel rates will fall 7 percent as Southwest Airline cuts summer air fares as low as $49, $69 respectively, and other airlines follow suit.

The cuts come as the current global downturn slumps demand, The Air Transport Association of America said on Friday.
The group expects summer travel passengers will fall by about 14 million to 195 million passengers compared with 209 million during summer of 2008.
The weak economy has forced additional aircraft out of the marketplace, so despite fewer travelers, planes will remain near full, ATA President and CEO James May said.

It expects 171 million passenger domestically from 183 million in a year earlier and 24 million passengers from 26 million from the same period a year ago internationally.

Southwest airlines recently offered lower airfare to help get customers traveling. Its incentives are running through May 14 to October 28, 2009.

Delta Airlines also launched summer airfare sale for as low as $69 domestically, and  up to $112 internationally, while AirTran Airways is pushing seats as low as $39.

Share of Southwest airlines rose 12 cents to 1.74% at $7.01, while Delta rose 33 cents or 5.21% at $6.66 and AirTan rose to 15 cents to 2.34% at $6.56 in the New York Stock trading Monday.