British Airways is to pass on some of the burden of recent record oil prices to its passengers by more than doubling a fuel levy paid on long-haul routes, the company said yesterday. \nThe airline, which also unveiled quarterly profits near the upper end of analysts' expectations, will increase a fuel surcharge on long-haul single tickets from ?2.50 (US$4.60 dollars) to ?6. \nOn return flights, the charge will go up from ?5 to ?12, the airline said in a statement. \nThe increase takes effect from Aug. 11, with a short-haul surcharge of ?2.50 remaining unchanged. \nFuel prices are proving an increasing headache for airlines worldwide, with oil hitting fresh record highs late last week. Brent North Sea crude soared to US$41.50 dollars per barrel on Friday. \nBritish Airways has warned that its fuel bill for the financial year to the end of March next year is likely to rise by around ?225 million, of which the increased surcharge will recoup only about ?70 million. \nNonetheless, the carrier saw operating profits for the three months to the end of June reach ?150 million, near the upper end of analysts' expectations of 95 million to 160 million. \nThe figure was also significantly higher than the ?40 million operating profit seen in the same period last year, when the world aviation industry was rocked by both the Iraq war and the SARS virus in Asia. \n"These are reasonable results but currently fuel and employee costs remain our biggest challenges," chief executive Rod Eddington said. \nMartin Broughton, the airline's new chairman, noted that market conditions remained difficult. \n"Long-haul premium volumes are recovering steadily, while short-haul premium travel remains at lower levels. The non-premium markets are very price-sensitive," he said. \nRyanair, a major rival to British Airways on short-haul flights within Europe, said it had no plans to introduce fuel surcharges. \nCommunications head Paul Fitzsimmons said: "Every Ryanair passenger can rest assured that Ryanair guarantees no fuel surcharges -- not today, not tomorrow, not ever." \nVirgin Atlantic Airways, which introduced ?2.50 surcharges earlier this year, said it was keeping the issue of further possible charges "under review."
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in