The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) yesterday received applications from three more international carriers seeking permission to pass on the rapidly accelerating cost of jet fuel to customers, bringing to 13 the number of airlines that have applied for relief in the past week. Cathay Pacific Airways chairman James Hughes-Hallett said on the sidelines of Logistics Hong Kong yesterday that if it were unable to recover any of the spiralling costs of fuel, a minimum of HK$1 billion would be added to its operating costs by the end of the year. 'If we were to take today's fuel price through to the end of the year, we would at the very least add HK$1 billion to our fuel-cost budget,' Mr Hughes-Hallett said, adding a one US cent rise in the price of a US gallon of jet fuel added HK$60 million to Cathay's operating costs. Cathay and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (Dragonair) were among the carriers to ask the CAD for permission to add a fuel surcharge to passenger tickets this week, with Dragonair requesting a HK$65 rise for a one-way fare. Mr Hughes-Hallett would not say what level of surcharge Cathay had requested, but both carriers said the surcharge would not fully recover extra fuel costs. Singapore jet-fuel prices, the region's leading indicator, eclipsed US$48.60 a barrel this week, the highest level in 14 years. One barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. An aviation analyst said the impact on a specific carrier's earnings would depend on how much of this year's fuel had been hedged, or locked in at a specific price. '[Rising fuel prices] will have a materially adverse impact on carrier earnings,' he said. 'Mainland airlines, which are not permitted to hedge their fuel, will really be hurting at the moment.' The CAD has yet to approve any of the requests for fuel levies. 'We expect to have the decisions made by the end of the month,' a CAD spokeswoman said yesterday.