The soaring oil price and collapsing credit pushed Eos Airlines and Nationwide Airlines to crumble this week and led to a spate of fare increases.


Transatlantic business-only carrier Eos Airlines, which flew from Stansted, ceased operating on Sunday and South African carrier Nationwide Airlines followed on Tuesday.


Nationwide flew from Gatwick to Johannesburg three times a week, a service it began in 2003. It had been in difficulty since November when its fleet was temporarily grounded by South African authorities for maintenance checks. In a statement, it said: “Our cash-flow has become critical.”


British Airways increased its fuel surcharge on fares by up to £30 from today to cover the rising fuel price.


Its surcharge on flights of more than nine hours will rise by £30 to £158 return, that on other long-haul flights by £20 to £126 and the surcharge on short-haul return flights by £6 to £26. All the surcharges are included in BA’s fares, as required by the Office of Fair Trading.


Qantas also raised its fares from the UK by 3% and Ryanair increased its baggage and airport check-in charges in a move widely seen as an attempt to cope with the oil price despite the airline’s denial.


Airline association IATA expressed grave concern, with a spokesman saying: “The fuel price is having a huge impact. There has been a step change in demand.”


Demand in the UK appears so far to have been unaffected by the deteriorating economic situation, but major US carriers are cutting up to 10% of their domestic networks.


Latest IATA figures suggest fuel accounts for 30% of airline costs. However, they relate to when oil was priced at $86 a barrel and it is now $120.


Business-only carrier Silverjet answered queries about its immediate future by announcing a deal for $25 million of extra funds from an unnamed investor in the United Arab Emirates.


The investor will take a 28% stake in the airline, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.