Airlines to levy record fuel surcharges on int’l routes in June


SEOUL, South Korea (Yonhap) — South Korean airlines are set to impose record fuel surcharges on international routes in June in the wake of soaring jet fuel prices, industry sources said Monday.

Starting June 1, top air carrier Korean Air Lines Co.’s surcharge for one-way tickets on international routes will range from 37,700 won (US$29.4) to 293,800 won, depending on the route, a company official said.

Asiana Airlines Inc., the smaller of South Korea’s two full-service air carriers, said it will levy a surcharge ranging from 40,400 won to 229,600 won.

The planned increase will raise the air carriers’ surcharges to the highest Level 19 from the current Level 17.

In April 2021, rising jet fuel prices forced local carriers to begin imposing fuel surcharges after a one-year hiatus. Fuel surcharges on international routes had stayed at zero since April 2020 due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Local carriers’ surcharges vary on the level of jet fuel prices traded on the Singaporean market.

If the average jet fuel price on the Singapore spot market rises over $1.50 per gallon during the past month, South Korean airlines are allowed to impose fuel surcharges starting one month later. If jet fuel prices drop below the threshold, no surcharge is collected.

Jet fuel prices averaged $3.36 per gallon on the Singaporean market for the one month from April 16 to May 15.

According to the International Air Transport Association, the average jet fuel price in Asia had stood at $3.55 per gallon as of May 6, up nearly 109 percent from May last year.

Meanwhile, both carriers’ fuel surcharges on domestic routes will rise to 17,600 won in the coming month from 14,300 won in May.

Industry watchers voiced concern that rising fuel surcharges may stymie a recovery in demand for international air travel following eased COVID-19 restrictions in South Korea.

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