AIRLINES are raising ticket prices to pay for soaring fuel costs post a surge in oil prices that peaked at just under $50 a barrel last month.
Gulf Air, Emirates and Cathay Pacific have introduced a new fuel surcharge from September 1 and other airlines are expected to follow suit. British Airways (BA) and SriLankan Airlines, have already increased prices. Gulf Air president and chief executive James Hogan went on record saying the airline is under “immense pressure” from rising jet fuel prices, which threaten its chances of a profit this year. Consequently, the airline’s passengers will for the first time have to pay an additional fuel surcharge of BD5 (one-way) and BD10 (return) for intra-Gulf flights. Those flying outside the Gulf will have to pay an extra BD10 (one-way) and BD20 (return).
Emirates has also introduced the same rates. British Airways (BA) increased its fuel surcharge on August 11 from BD3 to BD6 per sector on long-haul flights, including Heathrow-Bahrain. BA commercial manager for Bahrain, Central Asia and the Levant, Dougie Douglas, said fuel surcharges will most likely be lifted when oil prices return to normal levels. “Airlines are doing it increasingly because fuel prices have risen to unprecedented levels,” he said. “Our fuel bill rose 12 per cent in the first quarter. Fuel costs are over 14 per cent of our total costs. When fuel prices increase so rapidly, we have to recover some of that. When prices go back down we can look at redressing it again.”
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific is increasing its fuel surcharge from $14 (BD5.292) to $19 on long-haul flights, including flights between Hong Kong and Bahrain. The airline’s Middle East, India and Africa GM Adrian Gane says other airlines operating to Bahrain will probably follow Gulf Air’s lead. Those sentiments were echoed by Indian Airlines, which already imposes a fuel surcharge of BD5 per sector.
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