Thu, Jun 08, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Air travelers set to suffer as fuel surcharges soar

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ticket prices for international flights will rise after the Civil Aeronautics Administration announced yesterday an increase in fuel surcharges that will take effect on June 21.

Fuel surcharges are additional charges levied on air travelers to help airlines cope with skyrocketing oil prices.

The fuel surcharge will be adjusted to US$17.5 for short-distance international flights and to US$45.5 for long-distance international flights.

Short-distance international flights are defined as flights to other Asian countries, while long-distance international flights are those to other international destinations.

The fuel surcharge was last increased in April, when the administration hiked the rate for short-distance flights to US$15, and for long-distance flights to US$39.

Billy Chang (張國政), director-general of the administration, said that Taiwanese flight operators purchase their fuel from Chinese Petroleum Corp, which announced recently that the average fuel price for this month and last month has reached US$93.52 per barrel, up from an average of US$84.36 per barrel in February and March.

The increase in the fuel surcharge reflects airlines' surging costs, he said.

According to a statement from the administration, the soaring oil price has increased airlines' costs when operating long-distance flights by between US$171.25 and US$284. The cost of operating short-distance international flights increased by between US$28 and US$55.

The additional costs are only partially being passed on to consumers, with the operators absorbing the rest. Airlines shoulder 38 percent to 69 percent of the increased costs of short-distance international flights, and between 73 percent and 84 percent in the case of long-distance flights.

Some of the international airlines have already issued a new policy for fuel surcharges. Starting next Monday, Cathay Pacific Airways will adjust its fuel surcharge to US$14 for short-distance flights and to US$57.8 for long-distance flights.

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