Fuel Surcharge and Emirates

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

The price of oil, and therefore, aviation fuel has decreased over the last couple of weeks. (It hasn’t stopped one of our local garages from increasing prices by 1p though!) The price, as of this morning, stands at about the level it was at the end of February this year. That was enough for Emirates to announce that they were cutting their fuel surcharge. Congratulations for a smart move.
But what of other airlines?
Emirates haven’t exactly been followed by a surge of airlines following suit. One columnist in the Daily Telegraph contacted BA to be given a “no comment,” the same answer that a reporter on the Sydney Morning Herald got when they rang Qantas. Only Air New Zealand seems to have ruled out a price decrease. As journalists say, a deafening silence comes from all the other airlines. Other airlines based in the Middle East haven’t followed Emirates (yet) although Etihad has announced a whopping 40% discount sale for the remainder of May. That sound like a reaction to me.
What of European airlines. Ryanair doesn’t add a fuel surcharge so it can’t reduce it although in late February when it had a sale it was offering tickets at €7 then €8. Now the latest sale is at €12. Last year at this time it was a 40% discount off tickets. Three weeks ago a sale was at €6. The airline will say it adjusts its promotional offers to suit market conditions. And it does. But I bet those sale prices take into account the total charges – including fuel surcharges – other airlines offer as well.
Airlines have to take into account fuel prices. That, I can understand. If airline costs go up and they want to maintain profits then they can only raise prices or cut costs. But when prices fall, just as with petrol or gas and electricity prices when does the poor old consumer ever see a cut? Most of us, not just the cynical, think that the company involved is trying to improve its profits.
Airlines would win more plaudits and confidence from travellers if they followed the market conditions. Let’s say fuel prices drop by 3% for just a week and then return to the same levels. If an airline dropped their surcharge by the same percentage for a week and then raised it back to the same level, passengers would at least feel they weren’t being fleeced. It needs just one airline to do it. It would build great publicity and earn a little bit of loyalty from travellers because of honesty, something that many people feel is lacking in the airline business when it comes to pricing.
Emirates, fuel surcharges,

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