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Published on Friday, June 20, 2014

May airfares up 6 percent, highest rise for 15 years

Air fares shot up 6% in May, the highest monthly jump since 1999, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com believes there will probably be more price hikes on the way in coming months.

"With the turmoil in the Middle East and Ukraine, oil and other energy costs may continue to rise, which will either eat into already slim airline profits or cause fares to rise further,''  Hobica said.

"But I think there's still a lot of pent-up demand and passengers will continue to fly."

The steep rise in air fares in May was underpinned by a 4.7% increase over the last year to May 2014, according to the index.

There is also more bad news on the horizon for hard pressed fliers as Transportation Security Administration fees are set to rise.

An agreement reached in December would increase fees to a flat rate $5.60 added to each leg of a trip from $2.50 for a nonstop flight, or $5 for a trip with a layover.

Now the TSA wants to levy an extra $5.60 for every leg of a flight where a connection is over four hours.

Ross Feinstein, press secretary for the TSA said the agency are submitting new definitions for flights and layovers and expect to publish a finalized version later today.

A number of prominent industry figures have hit out at the TSA's new move.

 U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued a statement denouncing the new rule.

"Not only did the fee increase, but now, if passengers have layovers of longer than four hours, they are charged the entire fee again, " Dow said.

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