China's three major airlines will raise jet fuel charges on international
flights from next week.
The surcharge increase, due to start around October 1, will vary from route
to route depending on the destination and airline.
Travel agents believe the rise will increase the price of overseas tour
packages after the Golden Week holiday, but do not expect it to hit their
Reports said the lift would not go into effect until October 1. But at some
air ticket agents in Beijing the jet fuel surcharge has already been raised.
"The surcharge for each passenger on a round trip to Europe has been
increased by 200 to 300 yuan (US$25-37) starting from today," said Beijing
ticket agent He Hua.
According to He, the jet fuel charge for a round-trip ticket between Beijing
and Moscow with Air China was 1,297 yuan (US$162) on Friday, an increase of 361
yuan (US$45) from the day before.
But the airline did not increase the surcharge on flights to Thai capital
China Eastern and China Southern have also decided to lift their jet fuel
surcharges on international flights, as has the US Northwest Airlines on flights
from Beijing to Tokyo.
Because of this, some travel agencies are predicting the price of overseas
tour packages will increase after the Golden Week.
"The jet fuel surcharge on flights to Tokyo will increase by US$30-40, which
is a factor we cannot overlook nowadays as the whole industry is seeing lower
profit levels than before," said Lin Kang, a senior employee at the China
International Travel Service.
Usually people have to pay at least 4,000 yuan (US$500) to travel to East or
South Asia, and at least 10,000 yuan (US$1,250) to Europe and America.
Because of soaring oil prices, the civil aviation regulator has already
raised the surcharge on domestic flights twice this year. The surcharge for
every passenger who flies less than 800 kilometres is now 60 yuan (US7.5),
double the previous 30 yuan (US$3.7). For longer flights the surcharge is 100
yuan (US$12.5), up from 60 yuan (US$7.5).
The surcharge for international flights is decided by the airlines
themselves, not the regulator. But since most mainland airlines posted losses in
the first half of this year, largely due to surging fuel prices, airlines are
expected to use the new surcharges to boost profits at least a little bit.