Major airlines in US, Europe raise fuel surcharge

16 May, 2008: Major airlines in the United States and Europe are raising the fuel surcharge charged to passengers in the face of skyrocketing fuel costs.

Northwest Airlines, a major carrier in the United States based in Eagan, Minnesota, has said in a statement that that it is “matching a fuel surcharge increase implemented by its competitors.”

Northwest Airlines, in the face of record-high fuel prices, will increase the fuel surcharge $10 each way, matching the increase first implemented by Delta Airlines and then by United Airlines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines. These increase will take the fuel surcharge on domestic fares for these carriers to $65 each way.

A statement from Northwest Airlines said that fuel is the airline’s biggest operating expense, accounting for about 40% of its total costs. The airline incurred a $445-million increase in year-over-year fuel expense in the first quarter of 2008.

Northwest Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St Paul, Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and about 1,400 daily departures.

Being a member of SkyTeam, an airline alliance that offers customers one of the world’s most extensive global networks, Northwest and its travel partners serve over 1,000 cities in about 160 countries on six continents, the statement added.

Northwest Airlines operates one of its three hubs in the United States at Memphis International Airport, Memphis, Tennessee.

Southwest Airlines, the American low-cost airline which is the dominant carrier at Oakland International Airport, has been feeling the strain of fuel costs. The website moneycentral.msn.com quoted Gary Kelly, chief executive of Southwest Airlines, as commenting: “No airline can make money at $123-a-barrel oil. Even with hedging, fuel accounts for about 40% of Southwest’s operating.”

Both Delta Airlines and American Airlines raised $20 per round-trip in the form of fuel surcharges.

Delta Airlines is based and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States. It is the largest airline flying out of Dayton International Airport, Dayton, Ohio.

American Airlines Incorporated, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is the world’s largest airline in total passengers-miles transported as also passenger fleet size, and the second-largest airline in terms of aircraft operated.

The surcharges come to $130 dollars on many flights of American Airlines, so much so that passengers on some cheap flights now could be paying more in fees and taxes than for the airfare itself.

Lufthansa, the German flag carrier and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried, has raised fuel surcharge on all its flights as a means of coping with the soaring costs of crude oil and kerosene.

Lufthansa will now add €5 to each flight segment on its long-haul services, raising the cost to €82. The surcharge on domestic and intra-European routes will go up by €4 to €21 per flight leg.

Singapore Airlines, the national airline of Singapore, has decided to increase the fuel surcharge on all its flights owing to rising fuel costs.

The surcharge on flights operated by Singapore Airlines’ unit SilkAir will also be increased, a statement from the airline said.

Singapore Airlines’ surcharge on routes to South-east Asian countries has been raised to US$35 (€22) per flight from US$30 (€19). On flights to the United States and Canada, the fuel surcharge will increase to US$150 (€96) from US$130 (€83). The fuel charge for all other flights will go up to US$95 (€61) from US$80 (€51).

The last time Singapore Airlines had raised its fuel surcharge was in March 2008.







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