British Airways Ups Passenger Fuel Fee

British Airways PLC on Tuesday raised its trans-Atlantic fuel surcharge for tickets sold in the U.S. by $10 each way to $65 as it struggles with higher jet-fuel prices and competition from lower cost carriers.

The longhaul fuel surcharge on tickets sold in Britain will increase to 35 pounds ($62) per one-way flight, up from 30 pounds ($53). The new charge will apply on all tickets issued from April 21.

Martin George, BA's commercial director, said the company now expects its fuel bill to increase by 600 million pounds ($1.1 billion) to 2.2 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) this financial year. It had previously forecast a smaller increase of 400 million pounds ($710 million).

The airline announced the new surcharge as oil prices hit a new intraday high of $70.88 a barrel Tuesday amid international tension over Iran's nuclear program and worries about supply disruptions in Nigeria. Light sweet crude for May delivery settled in New York on Monday at a record $70.40 a barrel.

The unrelenting climb of oil prices has badly hurt the bottom lines of airlines worldwide.

BA competitor Virgin Atlantic Airways, a unit of Virgin Group Ltd., last month raised its surcharge on one-way tickets to 35 pounds ($62) per one-way flight from 30 pounds ($53).

In contrast, budget airlines such as Ryanair Holdings PLC have imposed no extra fuel charges on passengers, a decision they claim has helped keep prices low and win customers from the full-service airlines.

British Airways shares were 1 percent higher at 340.25 pence ($6.05) on the London Stock Exchange.


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