Qantas jacks up international fares again: "fuel costs"

By danwarne, March 9 2011
Qantas jacks up international fares again:

Just a month after its last price increase, Qantas has jacked up its international ticket prices again — this time, by $50 to Europe, $35 to USA and $30 to Asia/Pacific destinations.

The last round of increases in February added $30 to flights to the USA, and $20 to flights to Asia/Pacific destinations.

Domestic and trans-Tasman fares were also pushed up by about five per cent.

Qantas argues the new surcharges — now a total of $190 on tickets to Europe, $150 to the USA and $105 to Asia/Pacific, won't cover its actual increase in fuel costs.

The airline says jet fuel prices were at a record high since 2008 and the second half of the 2011 financial year is expected to see prices up 20%.

Instability in several key Middle Eastern countries are also creating anxiety for large oil consumers, with one OPEC member country, Libya, in turmoil, and others nearby facing regime changes following uprisings.

Although the increase in fuel costs will hit all airlines, it's still bad news for Qantas and its customers, with the airline already seeing badly deteriorating passenger traffic due to tough competition from global airlines servicing Australia.

CEO Alan Joyce said in February that there was "a real question mark over the viability of Qantas International" if it keeps going the way it is.

Qantas International now captures only 20% of the international travel market in Australia, with strong competitors like Singapore Airlines and Emirates snaring a large share of Australians' travel.

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