News desk
THE recent increase in the cost of fuel is to impact on the price of European airline tickets.
Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, secretary general of the Association of European Airlines (AEA), said yesterday that companies “do not have sufficient reserve to withstand the pressure” that higher fuel costs will exert on their account balances.

In Spain, airline companies Spanair, Air Europa and Iberia have all announced an increase in their tariffs as a direct result of the hike in the price of a barrel of crude oil. The position of all other airline companies, including the so-called “low-cost” organisations, is keenly awaited.

In a communiqué, Schulte-Strathaus pointed out that in spite of the fact that the European airline sector has been showing a more positive trend over the last few months, “the recuperation process is very fragile”.

On a brighter note, the secretary general of the AEA signalled that all the routes flown by airlines associated with the organisation registered a notable increase during the 20th week of the year (10 to 16 May), when compared with the same period last year. Some of the success, he admitted, was attributed to the general strike affecting France in the same week of 2003.

Nevertheless, European routes showed growth of 15 percent, while those that targetted the North Atlantic grew by 12.2 percent. Demand for Asia-Pacific routes were up by 62.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the Association of Spanish travel agencies (Amave), has announced that all major Spanish tour operators, including Iberojet, have begun to increase the price of their holiday packages as a result of air ticket price rises. The increase registered on deals between the Peninsula and the Balearics is six euros but the Tourism ministry confirmed yesterday that increases would only be applied in instances where the airlines had also raised the price of their tickets.

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