Factbox-How European airlines have hedged against fuel price increases
(Reuters) – Higher oil prices amid turmoil in the Middle East are increasing prices of jet fuel, which accounts for a big portion of airlines’ costs.
Brent crude oil almost hit $94 a barrel shortly after the Hamas attack in Israel on Oct. 7. It has since eased to around $86.
Spot Northwest European jet fuel prices were at $950 per metric ton on Monday, up 4% from before the assault. That compares to an all-time high of $1,471 in June 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some airlines use futures and options to hedge against price increases. They also try to hedge against value changes in the U.S. dollar, in which jet fuel is priced.
Here is how European airlines are hedged heading into 2024:
The CEO of the Franco-Dutch airline said on Oct. 27 it was “quite sufficiently hedged” for six months ahead.
The group has hedged 70% of its jet fuel consumption for the fourth quarter of 2023 and 64% for the first quarter of 2024, for $1,026 per ton and $978 per ton, respectively.
The British discount airline said in October it had hedged 73% of its fuel needs for the first half of 2024 and 46% for the second, at an average cost of $866 per ton and $822 per ton respectively.
It has 73% of the dollars it expects to need in the first half of the year, bought at $1.22 per pound, and 45% for the second half at $1.24 per pound.
The Finnish carrier, which said in October its quarterly operating result was hurt by higher fuel prices, hedges its fuel purchases for 12 months on a rolling basis.
It has covered 159,000 tons of fuel for the first quarter at an average price of $918 per ton, 126,000 tons for the second at $868 per ton, and 87,000 tons for the third at $934 per ton. At the end of September, this amounted to over 50% of Finnair’s fuel purchases for the next 12 months, a company spokesperson told Reuters.
The owner of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling said in July it was 58% hedged for the first quarter, 49% for the second, 39% for the third, and 32% for the fourth quarter of 2024. Including currency risk, the group was hedged at $815 per ton for the first and third quarters, and at $810 for the second and fourth quarters.
On Oct. 27, the group’s CEO said IAG was well-hedged on jet fuel for the first and second quarters.
The Icelandic carrier said in October it had 20,500 tons of fuel hedged for passenger flights in the first quarter, or 33% of estimated total usage at $811 per ton. It has hedged 26% of second-quarter usage at 26,500 tons for $840 per ton, and 5% of third-quarter usage at 7,000 tons for $842 per ton.
The British leisure travel company said in July it had 81.8% of fuel hedged over the next 12 months.
The German carrier said on Nov. 2 its “high hedge ratio” meant it was well protected against rising oil prices. Lufthansa has hedged 74% of the fuel it expects to need for 2024 at an average price of $951 per ton.
The Norwegian carrier said on Nov. 2 it had hedged about 35% of its fuel needs for 2024 “at levels considerably below current forward prices”. As of October, it had hedged 63,100 tons of jet fuel at $768 per ton for the first half and 91,300 tons at $784 per ton for the second half of 2024.
The Irish carrier said on Nov. 6 it had secured about 85% of its fuel requirements for 2024 at an equivalent oil price of about $89 per barrel, and over 50% for 2025 at $79 per barrel.
The airline has bought more than 90% of the dollars it expects to need for operating expenses next year at $1.08 per euro, and a half of those needed for 2025 at $1.12 per euro, it said.
As of July, the biggest Scandinavian carrier had hedged 40% of the U.S. dollars it expected to need in the next 12 months. In terms of Norwegian crowns, its largest surplus currency, 47% was hedged for the next 12 months. At that time, it had not hedged any of the fuel consumption for the same period.
The Hungarian carrier said in June it had hedged 62% of its 2024 fuel needs and 53% of the dollars it needs for that fuel. The hedges mean it will, on average, pay the market price for fuel as long as it stays between $834 and $958 per ton, the company said.
(Compiled by Camilla Borri, Louis van Boxel-Woolf and Marta Frąckowiak in Gdansk; editing by Milla Nissi and Edwina Gibbs)