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Air carriers to impose fuel surcharges based on distance

Korean air carriers are set to impose fuel surcharges on international flight services based on distance traveled starting May 1.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Wednesday that it has approved plans submitted by six air carriers here to shift their current method of calculating fuel surcharge rates based on regions. Currently, air carriers impose fuel surcharges based on regional charts. For instance, passengers traveling to cities in Europe and Africa get the same amount of fuel surcharges as they are in the same category, even though the distances they fly differ.

(Herald DB)
(Herald DB)

Air carriers adopting a new jet fuel surcharge calculation system include Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, T’way, Eastar Jet, Air Busan and Jeju Air, the ministry said.

The new system is meant to prevent flyers from being charged a higher fuel surcharge on flights than necessary, it added. 

Noting the problem, the Transport Ministry asked airlines to change their calculation systems last August.

Instead of calculating fuel prices based on region, Asiana will have nine distance categories to levy different levels of surcharges from 500 to 5,000 miles. Jin Air, a low-cost carrier owned by Korean Air, will have six categories from 600 to 4,600 miles.

Korean Air, the country’s largest flag carrier, submitted its new system in February and is waiting for the ministry’s approval.

Despite the change in the calculation system, passengers will not have to worry about surcharges for now, according to industry officials, citing low oil prices. 

Air carriers impose fuel surcharges when the average price of jet fuel, based on the Mean of Platts Singapore benchmark, rises more than $1.50 per gallon over the previous month.

Due to falling oil prices, fuel surcharges have not been added to flights since September 2015. 

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)
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