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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 29) – VIRGIN Blue will increase its fuel surcharge on domestic and international routes from February 2008 as a result of higher fuel prices.

The surcharge on Virgin Blue domestic flights will rise from $19 to $24 per person per sector, it said.

On outbound international flights operated by Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue, the surcharge will rise from $35 to $45 per person per sector.

"The airline has held off increasing its surcharge for nearly three years. The last increase was in April 2005,'' it said.

"Since then, the price of jet fuel has risen from $US66.33 (F$103.32) per barrel in April 2005 to $US112.60 (F$175.30) per barrel today.''

Virgin Blue said the new surcharge would come into effect after midnight on February 1, 2008, giving travellers time to make bookings at current surcharge levels.

Qantas last lifted its surcharges in early August when jet fuel prices were around $US85 a barrel.

Its domestic surcharge is $52 on a return ticket. It charges a range of prices on its international routes, such as a $370 surcharge on a return ticket to Europe and $290 return to the US mainland.

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