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) -- Airline shares were falling Tuesday as oil prices surged on Libya unrest.

At mid-morning, airline shares were all trading down, led by


(DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines, Inc. Report

, which was trading at $10.70, down 80 cents or about 7%. The

Amex Airline Index

was down 4.3%. Unhedged

US Airways


was trading at $9.36, down 36 cents or about 4%.

TheStreet Recommends


(UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report

was down about 6% to $25.23.

Airlines have been seeking to raise fares, but it can be challenging to keep up when fuel price increases occur suddenly. During the past year, jet fuel prices have risen about 50% to around $2.80 per gallon.

In a report issued late Tuesday, Soleil Securities analyst James Higgins wrote about media reports that say Delta could acquire

Virgin Atlantic

in order to enhance its access to London's Heathrow Airport. "Our rating on DAL remains buy, although it is difficult for us to see how any airline stock can move higher in the uncertain near-term environment for fuel prices the social unrest in the Middle East is creating," Higgins said.

Crude oil is trading at its highest price since September 2008. In London, Brent Crude reached $105.45 a barrel and in New York, oil futures for April rose 5.8%.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Ted Reed