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Northwest calls for action on fuel costs

EAGAN, Minn., July 7 (UPI) -- The head of Northwest Airlines says the time has come for federal action to address higher fuel costs that have cost U.S. airlines added billions.

Northwest CEO Richard Anderson said in April that high jet fuel costs accounted for $64 million of the airline's $230 million first-quarter loss.

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Anderson urges the federal government to "act promptly and forcefully" to reduce fuel prices in his column in July's WorldTraveler in-flight magazine.

Anderson suggests the government encourage oil-exporting countries to boost production, work with refiners to better utilize capacity, increase conservation and tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said.

"We at Northwest Airlines believe that prices should typically be dictated by the market, and we believe that airlines, like other industries, must try to solve their own problems before turning to the government for help," Anderson wrote. "But fuel that costs $41 a barrel isn't just an ordinary market fluctuation."

The average price for a barrel of oil was $31 last year.

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