x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Increase in air fares as the price of oil soars

Emirates raises prices and other airlines are expected to follow.

Passengers will now pay from Dh3,000 to Dh3,500 for a typical Emirates return flight from Dubai to London Heathrow.
Passengers will now pay from Dh3,000 to Dh3,500 for a typical Emirates return flight from Dubai to London Heathrow.

DUBAI // Families planning trips abroad over the spring school holiday will pay higher air fares. Emirates airline raised ticket prices yesterday and other airlines are likely to follow suit.

The increase comes weeks before the 10-day holiday at the end of March. The airline did not specify the amount, but travel agents said it was about five to seven per cent.

Passengers will now pay from Dh3,000 to Dh3,500 for a typical Emirates return flight from Dubai to London Heathrow.

"Ticket prices tend to rise every year for the start of the peak travel season between April and June," said Premjit Bangara, the travel manager at Sharaf Travel in Dubai.

Summer holiday plans are unlikely to be affected, Mr Bangara said. "It's an annoyance for most people but it won't stop them wanting to fly out to escape the summer heat."

Mr Bangara said he expected other airlines to make decisions on prices by the middle of this month.

Ashrita Moraes, operations manager at One World Travel and Tourism, said Emirates flights from Dubai to London and Delhi were among those with higher prices.

“It just depends on the routes that you book,” she said. She did not expect the higher prices to have a negative effect on ticket sales.

Emirates said: “Like every commercially orientated business, Emirates regularly reviews its fares to reflect market dynamics including demand and rising fuel prices.”

The company said it was impossible to absorb the soaring cost of oil without price increases, despite a fuel risk-management programme.

Three weeks ago British Airways raised its fuel surcharge, adding Dh143 to the cost of return flights in economy and Dh203 in first and club class.

“We constantly review prices and we did have a recent increase,” a spokeswoman said. She said the airline had no plans for further increases.

Etihad Airways said fuel prices accounted for 40 per cent of its operating costs, but no decision on fare increases had been taken yet.

The airline said it protected itself from short-term fluctuations with an “aggressive” fuel hedging policy that allows it to buy fuel at a capped rate for the year.

“This helps to mitigate some of the risks associated with fluctuating, and in this case increasing, oil prices,” it said.

Flydubai said its tickets include a fluctuating charge for fuel depending on the oil price. It would not be drawn on likely future increases.

nhanif@thenational.ae