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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Virgin Atlantic ups fuel charge
Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340_600
Fuel accounts for about 25% of Virgin's operating costs
Virgin Atlantic is raising its fuel surcharges on tickets sold in the UK to offset rocketing fuel prices.

The airline said it would increase its fuel levy to 30 ($55.36) per flight, a rise of 6, after oil prices reached more than $70 a barrel last week.

This latest increase will take place from Wednesday 7 September, it said.

In May, Virgin shrugged off higher fuel costs to reveal a sharp increase in profits to 68m for the year, its highest since 1999.

"The decision has been taken in light of the recent increases in the price of oil which - exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina - reached a new high of over $70 a barrel last week," Virgin said in a statement.

In June this year, the airline raised its fuel levy by 8 per flight when oil was hovering around the $60 per barrel mark.

Analysts expect rival airlines, including BA, to follow Virgin's move.

Qantas already increased its surcharges two weeks ago.

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