Canadian airlines adjust fees after drop in fuel costs
Canada's major airlines say they are eliminating or adjusting fees and surcharges to reflect the recent drop in fuel prices.
WestJet announced it is eliminating its fuel surcharge effective Thursday.
"As promised, we said we would remove our fuel surcharge when we were able to do so and we're proud to announce that we're eliminating it," said WestJet executive vice-president Bob Cummings following a news conference at Calgary International Airport.
WestJet's fuel surcharges added $20 to short-haul flights, $30 dollars for medium-range flights and $45 for long-haul flights. The Calgary-based carrier would have made the announcement within the next few days, however, word that Air Canada was planning to dump its fuel surcharge "accelerated" the announcement, Cummings said.
Air Canada and Porter Airlines, a smaller Toronto-based regional airline that flies commuter routes to several Canadian and U.S. destinations, announced plans to do away with their fuel surcharges as stand-alone fees.
Porter said it will include the cost of any fuel surcharges in its advertised base fares starting Sept. 19. Air Canada did not indicate when its change would take place.
The surcharge currently ranges between $20 and $60 each way on both domestic and flights to the United States, and has not been included in advertised prices.
That change will provide consumers a little help, aerospace analyst Cameron Doerksen of investment bank Versant Partners told CBC News, adding that consumers "like to know what they're paying to buy."
Lowered fees for heavy, oversized bags
Air Canada also announced it is lowering its fees for passengers who check bags that are too heavy or too big.
The airline used to charge $100 for overweight bags on all flights, as well as $100 for oversized bags on North American flights and $120 for oversized bags on international flights. In total, passengers could end up paying up to $220 extra.
Now, Air Canada will only charge $75 per bag that is oversized or overweight. And if a passenger's bag is both too big and too heavy, only one $75 fee will be applied.
The airlines are responding to the dramatic drop in the price in crude oil prices, which hit a record high of about $147 US a barrel in July.
Oil was down to about $97 US a barrel Thursday afternoon.
- Air Canada is not charging an additional fee of $75 for bags that are deemed too heavy or too big, as originally reported. In fact, passengers used to have to pay as much as $220 per bag that was overweight and/or oversized. That fee is now being reduced so passengers will not have to pay more than $75 per bag.Sep 18, 2008 4:00 AM ET
with files from the Canadian Press