Just days after Qantas increased prices on domestic routes by 3.5%, Virgin Blue has announced its own hikes.
The airline will increase Virgin Blue one-way Australian domestic fares between $5 and $10, based upon the length of the flight. Pacific Blue trans-Tasman and short haul international fares will increase between $5 and $15. New Zealand domestic fares are under review.
The airline has been hit by escalating jet fuel prices. On 11 April, when jet fuel prices soared above $US135, Virgin said its fuel bill would increase by around $120 million if fuel prices remained at that level. Jet fuel has since continued to increase and has now reached $US144 per barrel.
Business travellers shouldn’t despair too much though. The airline industry in Australia remains very competitive, particularly since the introduction of Tiger Airways to the market. Qantas and its discount airline, Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Tiger will continue to run sales with big discounts – savvy travellers should look to take advantage of these where they can.