Northwest Airlines adds $80 fuel surcharge

/ Source: The Associated Press

Northwest Airlines Corp. confirmed on Thursday that it will add fuel surcharges of up to $80 for many domestic round-trip tickets.

The surcharge will apply to travel to about 7,000 city pairs beginning Jan. 10, Northwest spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo-Shannon said. She said Northwest is matching surcharges added by competitors in those markets. Northwest already has fuel surcharges in other markets, she said.

Rick Seaney of wrote in a newsletter that by his count, there have been 21 fare increases this year. He did not count Northwest's surcharge as the 22nd hike because it covered less than two-thirds of Northwest's city pairs. But he said Northwest's surcharge was noteworthy because the carrier generally has not initiated fare increases. Aguayo-Shannon said Northwest did not initiate this one, either.

Airlines have pulled back from some of the earlier increases after competitors failed to match them. If Northwest's new surcharge sticks, it will be the largest one on Seaney's list. The largest previous increase was a $70 base fire hike by United in April.

Seaney also noted that the pace of fare hikes has slowed after what he called a "torrid pace" in the first half of the year. Seaney said he believes that's because oil prices have dropped, while at the same time extra money is coming into airlines now that previous fare hikes are taking effect.