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Thursday, 07 November, 2019, 14 : 00 PM [IST]

Airfares soar as Mumbai airport shuts its primary runway at peak hours for repairs

According to a report by Forum Gandhi in The Hindu Business Line, with the Mumbai airport shutting its primary runway for eight hours daily for repairs, passengers are paying a stiff price. Online travel agencies have seen a 20-35 per cent jump in airfares after the shutdown that came into force on November 4. Last-minute bookings to and from Mumbai could see higher fares of up to 60 per cent till March 2020, say industry insiders. 

According to Yatra.com, there has been a 10-12 per cent drop in bookings to and from Mumbai. EaseMyTrip has seen a sharp decline in queries to/from Mumbai on the busiest routes — to Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Goa. Prashant Pitti, Executive Director and CTO, EaseMyTrip, said, “If we compare the number of bookings we received in the last two months with those in November for flights to/from Mumbai, it has dropped 60-70 per cent. To avoid uncertainty, travellers are postponing their travel plans.”

ixigo has seen last-minute fares from key routes to Mumbai shooting 40-45 per cent for the coming week. “A further 30-35 per cent increase due to high demand and flight capacity constraints is expected,” said Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, ixigo. EaseMyTrip has seen a hike of 20 per cent in fares, and expects it to go up to 60 per cent in the coming weeks. 

The company is now ‘motivating’ its customers to book flights to airports nearby, such as Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad, offering them free bus tickets to Mumbai from those destinations. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) said the main runway will remain partially shut for five months during peak hours for re-carpeting. This work will happen for over eight hours every day. 

The second runway is functioning normally. According to sources, this is the second phase of the airport repair. The next phase will start in October 2020 and go on until March 2021. The Mumbai airport is the second busiest in India after Delhi. Approximately 95 flights a day are likely to get rescheduled, diverted or cancelled due to the repair work.
 
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