AIR passengers face the grim prospect of high air fares and fewer flight choices as several airlines have cancelled operations for a number of reasons, including the grounding of the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft. Industry insiders on Thursday pointed out that some sectors have shown a rise of more than 100 per cent in last minute bookings despite DGCA warning on Wednesday. On Wednesday, the Government had advised domestic airlines not to go in for predatory air fare pricing as several 737-MAX aircraft were grounded due to safety reasons. “With an unprecedented number of planes now grounded due to various factors, reduction in seat capacity has led to an increase in fares overnight.
Last minute airfares on Wednesday increased to more than 100 per cent on some key routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Mumbai-Kolkata and Mumbai-Bengaluru as compared to same time last year,” said ixigo Co-founder and CEO Aloke Bajpai. “Spot fares for Mumbai-Chennai are touching Rs 26,073, as opposed to Rs 5,369 the same time last year. High airfare patterns are expected to continue in the short-term with Holi and summer school holidays round the corner, resulting in increased demand.” According to Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) Yatra.com, civil aviation regulator DGCA’s decision to ground the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft has resulted in a fairly significant impact on airfares for immediate travel on certain key routes. “While overall fares were already on the rise by 15-20 per cent, we have noticed a variable pattern in spot fares with spike in fares on routes such as Mumbai-Hyderabad, Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata”.
Operations of airlines like SpiceJet and Jet Airways have been hit due to the Government’s decision on Wednesday to join a global grounding of 737-MAX aircrafts following a crash in Ethiopia. Now, AI cancels several international flights: NATIONAL carrier Air India has cancelled several international flights on account of low passenger yields on the sectors which include Delhi-Madrid. In a late Wednesday night development, the airline said 6 international flights from Delhi to places like Birmingham have been cancelled.