Why Aren’t Fuel Surcharges Dropping?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

© Dan Sperrin

As you probably know, fuel prices have been dropping. But has anyone seen any cuts in the surcharges airlines make?
The supermarkets started dropping prices last week, admittedly only by a penny or so but I notice our main Esso garage has followed suit. With news from Libya this morning oil prices dropped further. Brent Crude is around the $107 a barrel level well below the price that saw price increases earlier in the year. But what of airline fuel?

Japan Airlines has announced that it will reduce its fuel surcharge. But wait for this. The surcharge will drop from October 1st and last only until the 28th November on flights from here to Japan. The saving will be about $47 on a return fare, say £30 or so. The interesting thing here is that JAL is only reducing the surcharge after the busy summer season and that it must be expecting low aviation fuel prices for the next three months otherwise why make the announcement.
But what of BA, and all the other airlines? Or cruise companies or even some railway companies in Europe? What news from them? Nothing, not a dickey bird. BA raised the amount of its surcharge last April when oil was about $122 a barrel. Now its 13% lower.
The Office of Fair Trading is investigating the fuel surcharges on long haul passengers but its wheels grind very slowly. In fact sometimes you wonder whether every wheel is punctured. Will it include within its enquiry why it is taking so long to reduce the surcharge?

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