Global airlines will pass on the cost of rising fuel prices to passengers quicker than expected, leading to higher airfares after the recent surge in oil prices, the head of the International Air Transport Association said. The outlook for the airline industry's overall financial performance in 2022 is likely to worsen due to the challenge of higher oil prices, Willie Walsh, Iata's director general, said at a press briefing on Wednesday. "The high oil price is going to find its way into higher ticket prices ... it's inevitable, airlines are not in a position to absorb the significant increase in fuel bills that they're seeing at the moment," he said. "Typically, we would have said that an increase in oil price takes about six months to find its way through into ticket pricing, but given the very rapid increase that we have seen, it's likely to be reflected in ticket pricing a lot earlier than we would have traditionally seen." Fuel represents most airlines' single biggest cost, at about 27 per cent during normal operating periods. Jet fuel prices are up 77 per cent so far in 2022, compared to 2021, even more than oil, Iata data showed. The recent oil price volatility is being led by Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, with crude prices surging to almost $140 a barrel in March before sliding down again. Brent, the global benchmark for two thirds of the world's oil, was trading 1.03 per cent higher, at $102.11 per barrel at 5.32pm UAE time on Thursday, while West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, was up 1.26 per cent at $97.44 a barrel.