Wednesday 24 January 2018

Now Aer Lingus hikes fuel charges by 30pc

Laura Noonan

AER Lingus yesterday announced an increase to fuel surcharges by as much as 30pc, just one day after saying it would increase baggage charges by up to half.

The rise means passengers travelling to America will soon face round-trip fuel surcharges of up to €180.

The levies mark the fourth increase to Aer Lingus' fuel surcharges in less than a year and start on May 14.

From that date, passengers travelling to New York, Boston, Washington and Chicago will pay a fuel levy of €65 each way, up from €50.

Those bound for Orlando will pay a surcharge of €75, up from €60, while those en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles will pay €90, up from €75.

In a statement, Aer Lingus said the increases were directly linked to "the record upsurge of oil in recent weeks and the airline's largest fuel bill".

Criticised

Consumers' Association chief Dermot Jewell has criticised the increases for their lack of transparency.

"What Aer Lingus aren't telling us is how exactly the higher oil prices necessitate this kind of fuel surcharge," he said.

"Given the recent behaviour of Aer Lingus with baggage charges, many customers will suspect that there's an element of profiteering involved."

Aer Lingus corporate affairs director Enda Corneille insisted the elevated fuel surcharges "cover less than half the increase in long-haul fuel costs".

"We can't say much about the numbers because we have an interim trading statement out next week, but that will show the impact fuel is having on Aer Lingus," he added.

Aer Lingus first introduced its fuel surcharges in May 2006, levying €35 on flights to and from the US and Dubai.

Since then, the surcharge has been increased five times and reduced once, in February 2007.

Other full service airlines across the globe also apply fuel surcharges on their long-haul flights, and travel agents say passengers have come to accept them as "the norm" and price them into any bookings.

While some airlines have also implemented some fuel surcharges on short-haul routes, Aer Lingus has no levies on each of its 82 European routes. Its short-haul competitor, Ryanair, insists on "no fuel surcharges -- not now, not ever".

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