MUMBAI: Jet fuel is cheaper than petrol now, but airlines do not appear to be in any mood to cut the fuel surcharge on tickets. With jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices dropping by over 2.9% and petrol prices rising by Rs 5 a litre, it’s cheaper now to fuel a jet aircraft than it is to fuel your car. On Monday, the cost per litre of ATF in Delhi was Rs 58.8, while that of petrol was Rs 63.4. In Mumbai the gap between prices of aircraft and car fuel was wider than that of Delhi with ATF costing Rs 59.6 per litre while petrol stood at Rs 68.3 a litre.
The ATF prices went down on Sunday, after international oil rates slumped bringing about the first reduction in ATF costs this year. In Delhi, the ATF price fell by Rs 1,766/kilolitre, while in Mumbai the fall was Rs 1,827. The 3% fall in ATF prices is not going to translate into reduction in fuel surcharge. The reduction in ATF price has come after 14 successive hikes since October, 2010, when international crude oil prices started soaring.
But there is no respite for the passenger. If you are planning a last-minute summer holiday and have not booked your airline tickets yet, then the only good news is that fuel surcharge will not shoot up till the month end. Airfare still be on the higher side with the peak season demand influencing the prices.
“When ATF prices go up in succession, we raise the fuel surcharge after a few hikes,” said an airline official, requesting anonymity. “Now, it has gone down only by 2.9%, which is too small a drop to effect a change in fuel surcharge,” he added. Unfortunately, for the passenger there will be no respite. In short, the savings will be pocketed by the airline. “The drop maybe only 2.9%, but considering the quantity of fuel an airline’s entire fleet guzzles per month, the savings will not be negligible,” said an aviation analyst. It’s not the first time that jet fuel became cheaper than car fuel. Only two months ago, between March 1 and 15, ATF was Rs 55.5 per litre in Mumbai, while petrol price was Rs 63. In Delhi too, ATF was priced Rs 54.93, while petrol stood at Rs 58.37.