Airlines try to hedge against soaring fuel costs

Daily Herald- The computer screen on Scott Topping’s desk at Southwest Airlines flickered with row after row of dates and numbers, but they had nothing to do with arrivals and departures. They tracked the price of oil futures for the next several months, and they told a grim tale: No letup in sight from record prices for jet fuel.

"We’re on a one-way street right now," Topping said as he hunched over the screen, shaking his head. It’s Topping’s job to oversee Southwest’s battle to control surging fuel costs. It is the most successful program of its kind in the airline industry.

In the first quarter of this year, Southwest paid $1.98 per gallon for fuel. American Airlines paid $2.73, and United paid $2.83 per gallon in the same period.

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