Atlanta-based Delta announced Thursday it will trim its flight schedule for this fall as it grapples with the rising price of oil. The airline plans to focus on under-performing routes when making its cuts.
That means some flights booked for fall travel could be cancelled or shifted to smaller planes.
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Higher fares are also likely.
“With higher fuel prices, you’re going to expect to see ticket prices go up as well,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. He said ticket prices are up 4 per cent year-over-year.
Delta’s competitors also are face rising fuel costs that could affect their flight plans.
Oil prices have been increasing since early 2017, and the price of jet fuel is about 55 per cent higher than it was a year ago, according to the International Air Transport Association, a global airline group.
Delta said it now expects its fuel bill to be $2 billion higher this year compared with last year, and slashed its forecast for the year for earnings per share. For the full year, Bastian said he expects the company to generate pre-tax earnings of about $5 billion, in line with last year.
The company reported a $1 billion profit for the second quarter of the year, a 14 per cent decline from its nearly $1.2 billion quarterly profit a year earlier.
To combat higher fuel costs, “most airlines will either raise their base prices or sell fewer cheap tickets,” meaning more expensive vacations for passengers who haven’t yet booked their flights, according to a release from AirHelp, an air passenger rights and flight compensation company.