Air France is reintroducing a fuel surcharge as oil prices soar (Photo: LC)

Some aviation experts are talking about an average of 8%. Others say 15%. In any case, they unanimously predict an increase in air fares. Either by a traditional price increase (a movement that has been underway since January), or by adding a fuel surcharge. For example, the low-cost airline AirAsia, which is very hostile to a fuel surcharge – it had completely abolished it in 2015 – has just reintroduced it.

It is not the only one. In Asia, the Japanese and Taiwanese airlines, as well as Thai Airways International and Malaysia Airlines have reactivated or will reactivate this tax. Emirates has also recently introduced a fuel surcharge.

Air France-KLM

is also entering the fray. The group will introduce a fuel surcharge on March 25, which will vary depending on the destination. It should be around 40 euros per trip in economy class and 100 euros in business class. The Franco-Dutch duo does not intend to introduce a surcharge on short and medium-haul flights for the time being.

Other airlines, on the other hand, indicate that they do not want to follow this new path. Probably for fear of nipping the recovery of air transport in the bud. Their refusal of a fuel surcharge is also due to a good coverage of fuel purchases. This is the case for Ryanair, for example, which has secured its purchases at 65 dollars a barrel for this year, but also for Lufthansa.

However, an increase in air fares – especially on long-haul routes – seems difficult to avoid. In addition to soaring oil prices, the closure of Russian airspace

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to airlines from countries “hostile” to the Kremlin’s policies must also be included for routes to Asia. This means an increase in flight times from one and a half to two hours. And therefore an increased consumption of kerosene on each flight.

This development could well slow down the long-awaited recovery of air transport this year. A probable slowdown rather than a hemorrhage of passengers after two years of frustration due to the Covid pandemic.

Luc Citrinot