High oil prices twist the knife into the airlines

With oil prices lingering between the $100 and $130 a barrel mark, airlines around the world are on red alert as fuel costs soar.

On Monday Ryanair announced it's profits has plunged by 85% and blamed the high oil price for doubling its fuel expenses. Last week easyJet admitted that fare increases were inevitable in order for them to counteract the issue of fuel costs. At easyJet the increase in fuel price is costing around £7 a seat on every flight.

In addition, both Ryanair and easyJet have anounced cut backs to their winter schedules, whilst British Airways and BMI are expected to deliver timetable cut backs over the next few weeks.

Coupled with an ever slowing economy the outlook for the airlines looks bleak. With many airlines in the US falling foul of the fuel crisis, easyJet CEO Andy Harrison said that continuing high fuel costs will undoubtadbly cause some European airlines to go out of business;

"If oil prices remain high a lot of airlines will cut back capacity or go out of business, leading to higher fares."

Many airlines are also looking at other ways to offset the high fuel costs. easyJet for example is attempting to offset the £7 per seat rise through their introduction of hold baggage charges earlier this year. On a different strategy Brussels Airlines announced it is slowing flight speeds and lightening loads on some of its aircraft in order to reduce fuel costs.

This 'go slow' strategy has also been adopted by many other forms of transportation in the UK. Planes, trains, ferries, buses and cars are all starting to travel at slower speeds, according to the Guardian.

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