Jet fuel prices on Thursday were hiked by the steepest ever 16 per cent to catapult rates to an all-time high in step with hardening international oil rates.
The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) — the fuel that helps aeroplanes fly — has been increased by Rs 19,757.13 per kilolitre, or 16.26 per cent, to Rs 1,41,232.87 per kl (Rs 141.2 per litre) in the national capital, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. The hike, which comes on the back of a marginal 1.3 per cent (Rs 1,563.97 per kl) cut in rate earlier this month, takes jet fuel prices to record high across the country.
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The increase is in step with firming international oil rates. Brent – the world’s most popular crude oil benchmark – was on Thursday trading at USD 119.16 per barrel – the highest in almost a decade. ATF prices are revised on the 1st and 16th of every month based on the average of benchmark international rates.
The increase in jet fuel price will raise the operating cost for airlines. ATF makes up to 40 per cent of an airline’s operating cost. The June 1 reduction had come after 10 rounds of price increases this year. ATF in Mumbai now costs Rs 1,40,092.74 per kl, while it is priced at Rs 1,46,322.23 in Kolkata and Rs 1,46,215.85 in Chennai. Rates differ from state to state, depending on the incidence of local taxation.
Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged at Rs 96.72 per litre and Rs 89.62 a litre, respectively. An excise duty cut by the government had helped reduce petrol by Rs 8.69 a litre and diesel by Rs 7.05 per litre on May 22, but for that, the base price has remained unchanged since April 6. Before that, prices had risen by a record Rs 10 per litre each.
The retail prices of petrol, diesel and domestic cooking gas are way below the cost. Petrol and diesel rates are revised daily, based on equivalent rates in the international market. Fuel rates have been on the rise in India because energy prices globally have risen on the back of supply concerns following, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demand returning after being hit by the pandemic. India is 85 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs. To compound things, the rupee has depreciated against the US dollar, making imports costlier.