Here We Go Again at BA

By | Category: Travel rumblings

British Airways

British Airways

From tomorrow British Airways is increasing by £10 the fuel charge that it is levying on all economy class fares on medium and long haul flights. Domestic flights and short haul ones are unaffected this time. It means that if you’re flying to Australia you’ll pay a fuel surcharge of £98 on your ticket and a trip to the east coast of the US will incur £85 surcharge. And I suppose if BA is introducing this, then its stable mate, Iberia will follow as well. And other airlines will follow in one way or another.

I suppose those that can afford business class won’t object to forking out more but the rest of us might look elsewhere for our transport. The announcement quotes their finance director as saying motorists will have seen petrol prices rise, the assumption being that passengers will not be surprised at this action. He goes on to say that BA will shoulder most of the fuel increases the airline is facing themselves. The difference is that I, as a car driver, can only buy enough to put in my tank. An airline can forward buy its aviation fuel and thus hedge its costs. Is BA not doing this? If it has hedged up until now why is this the third increase in four months the last one only being in February? Or maybe BA is just taking advantage of the increased fuel price to help repair its battered balance sheet and give it some cash for when its cabin crew strikes in the coming month.

Passengers don’t have a bottomless supply of cash to spend on their holidays or travel. Sooner or later they say no. The problem is finding out when that point is reached. As has been seen over the last few years, we’ll still continue to travel and holiday but we’ll cut back. Instead of booking months ahead on BA to get a reasonable fare, we’ll look at other airlines. That is until they raise fuel surcharges (or hide the in the fares) as they undoubtedly will if this fare sticks.

I’m betting on a slump in sales now that the new government imposed tax increases on us all have just started. After Easter is over – and the strikes – it wouldn’t surprise me to see a sale in May. I’ll wait till then to get my next tickets. And if I’m wrong, no flying on BA till the Autumn.

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