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PAL seeks fuel surcharge for flights to Europe

MANILA, Philippines - National flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is seeking the approval of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for the imposition of a fuel surcharge on passengers going to Europe.

This developed as rival budget airline Cebu Air (Cebu Pacific) of tycoon John L. Gokongwei Jr. has asked to further raise the fuel surcharge on passengers flying to Korea due to rising aviation fuel prices in the world market.

In a petition filed before the CAB, PAL is seeking an authority to impose a $170 fuel surcharge on its international operations from Manila to any country in Europe.

CAB hearing officer Maria Elben Moro said the petition would be heard on Sept. 24.

PAL, jointly owned by taipan Lucio Tan and diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), is looking at flying to two destinations in Europe within the year after the European Union lifted the ban preventing local airlines from entering the European airspace.

PAL president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang announced last July 10 that PAL is preparing for the much awaited return to popular European destinations like London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome, and Madrid.

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PAL is in the middle of a major refleeting program with an end view of acquiring 100 new aircraft. It has entered into a $9.5 billion contract with the EADS Group for the delivery of 65 aircraft.

For its part, Cebu Pacific has sought the approval of CAB to further increase the fuel surcharge on four routes – Manila to Incheon, Manila to Busan, Cebu to Incheon, and Cebu to Busan – to $58 from $54.

Earlier, Cebu Pacific raised the fuel surcharge on the same routes to $54 from $50 per passenger.

The CAB allows airlines to impose fuel surcharge on international and domestic passengers as a temporary relief to help them recover losses arising from the increase in jet fuel prices in the world market.

Latest results of the Jet Fuel Price Monitor of the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) showed that average price of jet fuel rose 3.2 percent to $127.3 per barrel from a month ago level exceeding the full year target of $124 per barrel set by IATA.    

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