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Flight fuel surcharge level increased for March

Travelers should expect higher airfares next month after the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) increased the fuel surcharge level for March.

In an advisory on Wednesday, the CAB announced that the passenger and cargo fuel surcharge for domestic and international flights was adjusted to Level 7 for March 1 to 31, 2023.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said that during the agency’s monitoring from January 10 to February 9, 2023, the price of jet fuel went up to $113.72 per barrel, which corresponds to the effective fuel surcharge level for the coming month.

The fuel surcharge level for March 2023 is a notch higher than the current level.

Under Level 7, the fuel surcharge for domestic passenger flights ranges from P219 to P739 depending on the distance.

For international passenger flights originating from the Philippines, the fuel surcharge ranges from P722.71 to P5,373.69.

Meanwhile, under the current Level 6, passengers will be charged P185 to P665 fuel surcharge for domestic flights and P610.37 to P4,538.40 for international flights, depending on the flight distance.

Fuel surcharge is an optional fee, apart from the base fare, that airlines may pass on to passengers to recover costs incurred due to the volatility of jet fuel.

“Airlines wishing to impose or collect fuel surcharge for the same period must file its application with this Office on or before the effectivity period, with fuel surcharge rates not exceeding the above-stated level,” CAB said.

Sought for comment, Cebu Pacific president and chief commercial officer Xander Lao said that despite the uptick in fuel surcharge, “Cebu Pacific remains committed to providing great value to our passengers through our seat sale activities.”

“We encourage passengers to book their travels ahead of time to avail of low fares,” Lao said.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the flag carrier “will adhere to the guidance from CAB on the higher fuel surcharge that takes effect next month.”

“Our flight route network expansion continues. We are building our China network, gearing up for direct flights to Perth, Australia and increasing connectivity from Clark to Caticlan and Busuanga. We thank our customers for their continued support,” Villaluna said.

AirAsia Philippines communications and public affairs head Steve Dailisan said that “any increase in surcharges will definitely impact fares.”

“The increase in jet fuel prices may be driven by the demand brought about by the reopening of other key markets, which can also be taken with sheer optimism in terms of global economic recovery post-pandemic,” he added. 

Nonetheless, the AirAsia official said the budget carrier is “confident that the slight increase in fuel surcharge will have little or no significant effect on the booking behavior among our guests.” —AOL/RSJ/VBL, GMA Integrated News