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Airfares soar up to 89% on key routes for Diwali week

Travelling by air during this Diwali is likely to be an expensive affair. Airfares on key routes across the country for the festival week — between November 10 and November 16 — are already up to 89 per cent vis a vis last year’s Diwali week due to high demand and limited capacity amid Go First’s insolvency and SpiceJet’s financial troubles.The average one-way airfare on the Delhi-Ahmedabad route for the November 10-16 period is INR 5,688, which is 72 per cent higher than in the Diwali week last year (October 21- October 27, 2022), according to data provided by travel website Ixigo. This is for tickets booked more than 80 days before the travel date. Last Diwali, there were about 290 flights per week operating on the Delhi- Ahmedabad route. For this Diwali, airlines are currently scheduled to operate 15 per cent fewer flights on the route, according to airline executives. “Go First used to operate about 42 weekly flights on the Delhi-Ahmedabad route. They are gone. SpiceJet has reduced its services on this route in the past year. It is currently operating about 14 weekly flights.

Other airlines do not have planes to operate more flights on this route,” an airline executive explained. Go First suspended all its flights from May 3 onwards and filed an insolvency application. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last month approved Go First’s plan to resume flights, subject to the outcome of pending cases and the availability of interim funding. The airline is yet to resume flights. Airfares are also shooting up as demand for air travel — even in a lean season — has significantly shot up this year. “June and July, which are traditionally lean seasons, have recorded higher domestic air traffic this year (12.4 and 12.1 million passengers, respectively) as compared to the peak festival season of October 2022 (11.4 million passengers). Travel demand is likely to escalate further during this year’s Diwali, resulting in higher airfares across key routes. The increase in capacity by year-end may lead to some relief on fares in India,” said Ixigo spokesperson. The average one-way airfare on the Delhi-Srinagar route for the Diwali week this year is INR 7,175, which is 89.11 per cent higher than in the Diwali week last year, according to Ixigo’s data.

For this year’s Diwali, airlines are currently scheduled to operate 33 per cent fewer flights on the Delhi-Srinagar route. “Go First used to operate about 72 flights per week on the Delhi-Srinagar route. No other airline has been able to fill that gap,” an airline official explained. On the Bengaluru- Hyderabad route, the average one-way airfare for the Diwali week this year is INR 1,914, which is 63 per cent more than last year, shows the Ixigo data. This is despite the fact that aviation companies are scheduled to operate about 40 per cent more flights this Diwali. SpiceJet this month is scheduled to operate overall 1,266 flights a week — 41.5 per cent less than August last year, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium’s data. The airline has been finding it difficult to make timely payments to its aircraft lessors. As on August 1, 26 of its total 62 planes were grounded, according to Cirium’s data. SpiceJet earlier this week stated that it plans to revive 25 grounded planes back to service. (Source :The Business Standard)

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