21 April 2010 22:41 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--More travellers boarded US commercial airlines in March, but rising jet fuel prices made it more expensive to fly, the US airline industry's advocacy group said on Wednesday.
The increase in US passenger traffic during March was approximately 1.4% higher than the same month last year, the Air Transport Association (ATA) said.
Passenger revenue during March was up 15.4% year over year, showing a third straight month of increases, the ATA reported.
Meanwhile, the average price to fly last month jumped 11.7% versus March 2009.
Jet fuel prices spiked during March in the wake of crude oil's climb into the mid-$80s/bbl.
On 1 March, pipeline jet fuel in the US Gulf region was priced at about $2.0525/gal but rose 7% to around $2.1950/gal on the final day of the month, according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
In the New York Harbor region, jet fuel was valued at roughly $2.0850/gal on the first day of March and spiked to $2.22525/gal on 31 March.
The ATA said that international travel was up substantially in March - by nearly 20% - but would be depressed when the group reports April figures due to the impact of the volcano eruption in Iceland.
"With the global economy continuing to heal, spending on air travel in international markets led the way in March," ATA CEO James May said in a statement. "However, we expect that the recent shutdown of European airspace due to volcanic activity will negatively impact April results."
Jet fuel prices fell when European airlines grounded flights due to ashy skies over the continent from the volcanic eruption in Iceland.
But as of Wednesday, the UK and other countries opened air space and a short-term spike in jet fuel pricing was expected to ensue.
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