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Thomas Cook tacks on extra fuel charges

Tour operator Thomas Cook announced it was re-introducing fuel surcharges yesterday. The charges of up to £40 per person are effective immediately and will be applied to all Thomas Cook holiday and charter flight bookings.

The move by the leading travel agent comes in the wake of rapidly increasing oil costs which saw the price of a barrel hit $US119 (£73.50) last week, although this has since gone back down to about $US112 (£69) per barrel. As the world began to recover from the economic woes besetting it, the cost of a barrel was just $US87 (£53.60) at the beginning of 2010.

The civil unrest currently taking place in a number of Middle Eastern nations is the main cause of the 30-month high in oil prices. Travel industry insiders say the move by Thomas Cook could add four per cent to the cost of a family holiday.

Thomas Cook spokesman Ian Ailles said the company had tried hard to shield its customers from rising fuel prices, but now had to pass on some of the effects.

The rises of £15 per person for flights under three hours in duration, £25 per person for three to seven hour trips and £40 a passenger for long-haul journeys over seven hours will be levied on holidays and flights for the remainder of this winter season as well as through to the end of the winter 2011-12 season.

Thomas Cook previously passed on fuel surcharges to holidaymakers in 2008 when oil peaked at $US147 (£90.60) per barrel. The move by the tour operator follows some fuel related increases by commercial airlines in recent months.

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