Fuel surcharges on long-haul flights run South Korean carriers will be adjusted down next month by up to 12,000 won ($10.1) amid falling oil prices.
According to multiple sources from the industry on Monday, Korean airlines will lower fuel surcharge level by one notch from five to four on international routes next month, the first fall in three months to reflect softer oil prices. The extra charge for fuel on one-way international routes issued starting next month will go down from maximum 61,200 won to 49,200 won, depending on flight distance.
Fuel surcharge is assessed by airlines in different levels when the average Singapore benchmark jet fuel price exceeds 150 cents per gallon. There is extra charge if the jet fuel price hovers below 150 cents per gallon.
From May 16 to June 15, the Singapore benchmark jet fuel price averaged $77.34 per barrel, or 184.21 cents per gallon, falling under level four fuel surcharge category for application to international routes in July.
Korean airlines’ fuel surcharge level on international routes hit the highest of level 8 in November, last year, with levies going up by up to 105,600 won on top of plane tickets, before falling by one notch in the following month. In January, this year, the level fell to No. 3 and in February, No. 2, before rising to level three in March and then five in April, May and June.
There have been growing concerns that international oil prices would go up amid intensifying tensions after attacks on two oil tankers in the Middle East but concerns were eased on the back of increased oil reserves in the United States.
Fuel surcharges on international routes are calculated based on distance, which means that travelers on long-distance journeys pay more extra charge.
As for Korean Air Lines Co., the country’s largest full-service carrier, fuel surcharges are assessed differently after dividing air travel distance into 10 levels from under 500 miles to over 10,000 miles. The extra charge that will be applied on international routes for tickets issued in July will be based on level four – from as low as 6,000 won to as high as 50,400 won.
However, since Korean Air does not serve international routes with air travel distance above 10,000 miles, which belongs to the level 10 range, the actual maximum fuel surcharge will be 49,200 won for level 9 range. The longest distance flight operated by Korean Air is the Incheon-Atlanta route at 7,153 miles.
Asiana Airlines Co. charges extra fuel cost on international routes with air travel distance from under 500 miles to over 5,000 miles. Surcharges vary depending on distance from as low as 7,200 won to as high as 41,600 won.
Fuel surcharges on domestic routes, meanwhile, will remain unchanged in July at 5,500 won. Korean airlines assess extra charges on domestic routes in stages if the average Singapore benchmark jet fuel price exceeds 120 cents per gallon.
By Kim Tae-joon and Lee Eun-joo
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