Categorized | Airlines

Airfares to Europe surge as fuel surcharges increase…

Posted on 01 June 2010

Airlines are increasing what travelers pay to go to Europe by imposing much higher surcharges for fuel than they charged last year.The charges, aimed at helping the airlines offset higher oil prices, are adding $80, $100 or more to the price of a round-trip ticket to some destinations compared with last summer, an examination by Bestfares.com finds. For instance:

•A passenger can pay a $182 fuel surcharge to go from Dallas/Fort Worth to Dublin and back compared with just $14 last year before oil prices climbed.

•A round trip from Los Angeles to Paris can have a $320 charge compared with $224 early last summer.

Bestfares.com finds fuel costs are adding about $320 to the costs of a round-trip ticket to Paris and most other European destinations compared with about $280 last June.

The surcharges are adding to already higher ticket prices to Europe — as much as double last year in some instances.

And they come as most airlines have imposed surcharges of $10 to $30 for domestic flights nearly every day this summer for flying on “peak,” or heavy, travel days.

Airlines began imposing fuel charges on international routes two years ago when oil prices surged. They tapered off as oil prices sank at the end of 2008 amid the global financial collapse. But prices hit an 18-month high of $87.15 a barrel three weeks ago before falling. Benchmark crude for July delivery settled Monday at $70.21 a barrel, up 17 cents for the day.

Oil prices aren’t the only factors driving higher fares to Europe. Supply and demand are at work.

Airlines have reduced the number of seats they’re offering in response to fewer people traveling. Delta and American, for instance, cut the number of seats this April by 21% and 14.2%, respectively, from April 2008. On the flip side, U.S. airlines say the number of leisure travelers has nearly returned to 2008 levels. Business travelers also are returning, though not back to pre-recession levels.

The result: Airlines can charge more for their seats.

 Source; USA Today

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