British Airways has confirmed it raised most long-haul fares by 5% last Friday, a day after increasing the fuel surcharge on first and business-class passengers.

Neither increase was announced to the press. Details of the rise in fuel surcharges were explained in a letter to corporate customers.

The fare increase applies to all flights to and from the US, Canada, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and the Far East apart from Tokyo, which was excluded for legal reasons.

BA blamed rising costs, with a spokesman saying: “The price increases reflect overall market conditions, changes in demand, increasing operating costs and inflation. We continually review our fares and make adjustments.”

The airline also restructured the fuel surcharges added to fares last week, for the first time charging passengers in First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and Club Europe cabins more than those in economy. The increases range from £8 return on a business class fare in Europe to £48 on first and business-class fares on flights of more than nine hours.

A spokesman said future increases in surcharges would be in line with the changed structure, falling more heavily on those towards the front of the cabin. He said: “We burn more fuel carrying passngers in cabins with fewer seats and a larger baggage allowance.”