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Hong Kong aviation

Cathay Pacific flights leaving Hong Kong set to cost up to HK$652 more as fuel surcharge introduced from November

Carrier is the first Hong Kong-based airline to announce rates for extra charge of between HK$146 (US$19) and HK$652 (US$83) following government’s decision to deregulate fuel surcharges

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 September, 2018, 9:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 September, 2018, 7:20am

A fuel surcharge of between HK$146 (US$19) and HK$652 (US$83) will be levied on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights leaving Hong Kong from November 2, with this amount to be adjusted each month.

The carrier is the first Hong Kong-based airline to announce its fuel surcharge rates, after the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) last week lifted a two-and-a-half-year ban on carriers adding an extra fee to tickets to recoup the rising cost of jet fuel.

Hong Kong Airlines, one of two other airlines headquartered in the city, said it would consider several factors, including “market conditions and fuel price fluctuations” before deciding on levying a fuel surcharge.

Hong Kong airfares tipped to rise as airlines regain right to add fuel surcharges to ticket prices

Singapore Airlines, which has eight flights leaving Hong Kong each day, said it had already folded fuel and insurance costs into base airfares since March last year and had no plans to now impose an additional surcharge.

Hong Kong Express did not reply to the Post’s request for comment. Neither did Emirates and United Airlines – two other airlines with frequent daily flights from Hong Kong International Airport.

More than 120 airlines serve over 220 destinations from Hong Kong International Airport.

With crude oil now at about US$81 per barrel, industry watchers expect carriers to take advantage of the CAD’s permission to add on an extra charge, though they said the amount would depend on individual airlines.

SIA’s general manager for Hong Kong, Chia Chow Hwee said: “The CAD’s announcement that airlines can levy fuel surcharges on flights originating from Hong Kong may result in higher all-in air fares. Some airlines may choose to recoup higher fuel costs via a separate fuel surcharge component in their pricing.”

Previously, airlines could levy fuel surcharges only on passenger flights coming into the city and all cargo flights.

Long-haul flight tickets out of Hong Kong to increase by HK$600 with deregulation of fuel surcharges

But the CAD, after several reviews, decided to liberalise the rules. In exchange for the autonomy to set fuel surcharges, airlines must comply with fare display requirements on their websites and show the final ticket price at all times.

On its website on Thursday, Cathay said its fuel surcharge from November 2 would be HK$652 (US$83) for Hong Kong flights bound for destinations in the South West Pacific, North America, Europe, Africa and Middle East, and HK$146 (US$19) for tickets to regional locations such as Taipei and Japan.

Both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 34.8 million passengers last year, close to half of the 73 million passengers that passed through the Hong Kong International Airport.

The general manager of one of the city’s largest tour agencies, Miramar Travel, said he had not seen a surge of Hongkongers buying air tickets to avoid higher prices after November 2.

“Hongkongers will not cancel their trips because of the surcharge … they will just pay the fee,” Alex Lee Chun-ting said.

He gave an example of the HK$90 (US$11) to HK$180 (US$23) fee added to base airfares two years ago to fund the construction cost of the third runway at HKIA. If passengers were not put off then, they would not be affected now, he said.

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho said consumers would need to manually monitor airfare prices before and after November 2 to understand the real effect of fuel surcharges.