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Northwest Adds $10 Fuel Surcharge

February 20, 2003

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) _ Northwest Airlines on Thursday imposed a $10 each-way fuel surcharge on all of its published discount fares systemwide.

Northwest, the No. 4 U.S. carrier, announced the surcharge a few days after spoiling an effort by other major airlines to raise fares by $20 per round trip to offset higher fuel prices. It was not immediately clear whether other airlines would match Northwest’s move.

Continental, the No. 5 carrier, raised prices by $20 last Friday on all round-trip tickets, but Northwest matched that hike only on certain routes Saturday. By Monday all the major airlines had abandoned the increase.

On Tuesday, Minnesota-based Northwest and most major airlines matched a $3 fuel fee imposed by American Trans Air on one-way tickets.

The surcharge applies to Northwest’s discounted business fares, including its BizFlex fares, and all of its leisure fares, both domestic and international. The increase does not apply to its full coach, business and first class walk-up and domestic three-day advance purchase fares.

The airlines collectively have lost almost $15 billion during the past two years and face even weaker demand this year because of the potential for war in Iraq.

The uncertainty over war has led to higher crude oil prices, which have further crimped the carriers’ feeble finances.


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