LONDON, June 21 (UPI) -- Business and first-class passengers on all British Airways flights are being hit with a higher surcharge to cover rising fuel costs, company officials say.
British Airways Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh said the decision to increase upper-class tickets on longer flights from $430 to nearly $525 was necessary because fuel prices have continued to increase dramatically, The Times of London reported Saturday.
"Recent unprecedented oil price rises are putting pressure on the whole aviation industry," he said. "For British Airways, fuel is expected to overtake employee costs this year to become our largest cost."
The airline, which also raised prices on upper-class tickets for all shorter flights, is expected to pay more than $6 billion in fuel costs this year, up 50 percent from last year's $4 billion.
"Therefore we believe it is now appropriate to spread some of this significant additional cost among those passengers traveling in cabins with fewer seats, using more space and benefiting from larger baggage allowances," he told the British newspaper.