Air fares skyrocket ahead of Diwali
- Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: Javed Sheikh's father moves CBI court against Amit Shah, ex-DGP; wants them arraigned
- Editors slam Arvind Kejriwal for 'irresponsible' media remark
- I skipped rally because I was misled: Anna Hazare
- Goa court grants permission to Tarun Tejpal to meet his ailing mother
- Arvind Kejriwal alleges whole media is sold, backtracks later
Last-minute plans of spending Diwali away from the city may be hurt by air ticket costs increasing 150 to 200 per cent on some high-density corridors.
Industry insiders and travel portals reveal fares have shot up, especially on routes to Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. Fares for Bangalore, Goa and Kerala are also high these being tourist destinations.
"During festivals, a marginal increase is usual. This year the rise is huge. People have to rely on air transport as trains get booked much in advance. Also, working professionals don't have time for long-distance train journeys," said Gour Kanjilal, executive director, Indian Association of Tour Operators.
"Normally, there's a 40% increase in fares during festive seasons. This year, the average rise is more that 100 per cent," he said, adding that travellers are preferring low-cost airlines, especially Indigo and Spicejet, and their planes are getting filled faster.
According to experts, there has been a significant rise in price of jet fuel, which forms roughly 40% of an airline's operating costs, largely responsible for high air fares. Further, said industry experts, there has also been an increase in taxes and airport development fees.
The drop in seat capacity due to absence of Kingfisher is indirectly impacting fares by tightening supply in the face of a high demand, said officials. "Kingfisher had about 16 slots a day during this time of the year, which translates into nearly 5,000 passengers daily," an official at the Mumbai airport said.
"Expensive tickets are dampening spirits of travellers and hurting the tourism industry. The government should have some regulation over air fares. Also one airline that was connecting most cities is not operating, adding fuel to fire," said Iqbal Mullah, president of the Travel Agents Association of India.