Airlines urged to cut ticket prices as cost of oil continues to fall
Consumer campaigners have accused airlines of ripping off passengers by failing to pass on the full saving of the fall in fuel prices.
They say the current low price of oil is not reflected in the cost charged by airlines.
The row comes as around two million people headed overseas this weekend as the holiday season got underway.
“There’s a very real argument here to say that airline customers are being ripped off. The price of tickets must go down to reflect the fall in the price of fuel, but airlines are failing to pass on in full the savings they are making as a result of falling fuel prices,” he said.
The price of crude oil has plummeted in the past three years, from $115 per barrel in April 2014 to around $50 per barrel this month – a fall of 56 per cent.
Figures from the SkySkanner travel website show that between July 2015 and June this year the average cost of an economy ticket from the UK to all destinations fell from £351.70 to £328.36, a drop of 6.6 per cent.
The average cost of an economy ticket from the UK to European destinations fell by 7.6 per cent over the same period, from £151.17 to £139.54.
Mr Fabricant highlighted the case of a £1,380 flight from London to Sydney with Emirates, which includes a fuel surcharge of £364.
He is now calling on Ministers to act to force those airlines which impose fuel surcharges to cut or even scrap them altogether.
Emma Coulthurst, travel expert from holiday price comparison site, TravelSupermarket.com said: “The last few three years have been some of the best for the airline industry in terms of profits; airlines have enjoyed huge cash piles since oil prices slid significantly in mid-2014. The airlines are quick to increase prices when oil prices increase. But, the same discounts have not seemed apparent in ticket prices when fuel prices have slid over the last few years.”
She added: “Airlines need to convince us that they are passing on savings to us. These fuel surcharges – – and it is mainly the flag carriers who are to blame for them – make customers feel that the airline industry is taking advantage of them.”
Lufthansa said it scrapped its fuel surcharges around two years ago, and said competition between airlines was so “fierce” that passengers were benefitting from “very competitive prices”.
Emirates did not respond to requests for comment.
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