Business

Xenophon wants ACCC to launch airline fuel price probe

INDEPENDENT Senator Nick Xenophon has called on Australia's competition watchdog to investigate claims airlines are price-gouging travellers through unreasonably high fuel surcharges.

Flight Centre boss Graham Turner told The Australian this week surcharges remained high despite jet fuel prices falling to their lowest level in more than a year.

So concerned by the claims was Senator Xenophon he wrote to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Friday requesting an urgent inquiry.

"Flight Centre has found that, on average, jet fuel prices are three times higher than in 2004, when the surcharges were first introduced," Senator Xenophon said.

Flight Centre cited the example of the surcharge on a Qantas return airfare to London, which started as a $60 surcharge in 2004 to now sit at $760.

The analysis found fuel surcharges varied from airline to airline for the same route, with British Airways charging $763, Malaysia Airlines $590, Virgin Atlantic $580, Singapore Airlines $571 and Cathay Pacific $532.

"If that price accurately reflects what Qantas is paying in fuel for that route, they need to find a better deal," he said.

"When you see figures like this, it's hard to believe airlines aren't using these surcharges as an opportunity to skim a little off the top."

A Qantas spokeswoman told APN Newsdesk the airline's fuel costs were $2.2 billion in the first half of the current financial year - the same as the previous year.

"Our annual fuel bill in 2011/12 reached a record $4.4 billion, making it by far our biggest operational cost," she said.

"We keep fuel costs under constant review and clearly if there is an opportunity to reduce our surcharges we will do so, as we have in the past."

The spokeswoman said fuel surcharges, which only apply to international flights, did not cover the cost of fuel per passenger.

She said half of the cost of operating an international flight was attributable to fuel costs.

Topics:  accc, airline, business, fuel, nick xenophon, qantas, surcharge


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Calliope local enters race for Flynn

Independent candidate for Flynn Nathan Fletcher at the Callide Valley Show last Friday. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Nathan Fletcher will run as an independent in the federal election.

LNP Senate candidates grilled on local issues

LNP Senators including James McGrath, Joanna Lindgren and Ian Macdonald, as well as Senate candidates Gerard Rennick and Dan Ryan, meet with Biloela residents at the Biloela RSL. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Six LNP Senate candidates attended the Biloela RSL last Monday.

Weston wows at Wowan rally championship

DIRT’S FLYING: Gympie brothers Tristan and Andrew Carrigan finished first outright in the Pedders Suspension Rockhampton Rally of Wowan.

Clay Weston and Brendon Wrigley lead the two-wheel drive class.

Latest deals and offers

Car pulling caravan goes off the road on Leichhardt Hwy

EMERGENCY services are responding to reports of a crash on the Leichhardt Highway.

Calliope local enters race for Flynn

Independent candidate for Flynn Nathan Fletcher at the Callide Valley Show last Friday. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Nathan Fletcher will run as an independent in the federal election.

LNP Senate candidates grilled on local issues

LNP Senators including James McGrath, Joanna Lindgren and Ian Macdonald, as well as Senate candidates Gerard Rennick and Dan Ryan, meet with Biloela residents at the Biloela RSL. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Six LNP Senate candidates attended the Biloela RSL last Monday.

Weston wows at Wowan rally championship

DIRT’S FLYING: Gympie brothers Tristan and Andrew Carrigan finished first outright in the Pedders Suspension Rockhampton Rally of Wowan.

Clay Weston and Brendon Wrigley lead the two-wheel drive class.

New laws present hurdle for quick mine acquisitions

DIVIDED OPINION: Concerns have been raised about the impacts of the proposed Colton coal mine project on the Fraser Coast, but some small town representatives say coal mines have “been a great benefit” to their regions.

'Chain of responsibility' legislation holds mine backers to account.

Canavan defends Direct Action policy

Senator Matt Canavan addresses the Biloela RSL on Monday morning. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

LNP Senator Matt Canavan denies scheme is costly and ineffective.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked

Caloundra’s former Centrepoint Buffet site up for sale

FOR SALE: The home of the old Centrepoint Buffet

Restaurant fined for unhygienic practices closed months ago