THE partial opening of the aviation sector has helped travel agents see a jump in air ticket bookings. The travel agents are witnessing a rise of 20 per cent in air ticket bookings during the month of September as compared to August. The average passenger occupancy per flight has also improved to 60 per cent to 80 per cent as compared to earlier 40 per cent to 50 per cent, sources said on the condition of anonymity while speaking to The Hitavada. The surge in air ticket bookings can be attributed to higher confidence level among passenger of not getting infected by COVID-19 and various factors like airlines strictly following safety operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Government at the airports.
Apart from this, the travel agents said that the air fares are reasonably priced. The ticket fares on some of the busiest routes like the NagpurMumbai is being quoted at Rs 3,200 to Rs 3,500 (including taxes). Similarly, Nagpur-Delhi route the fare is at Rs 3,600 to Rs 4,000 per ticket (including taxes). Looking at the growth in passenger traffic, domestic airlines have increased the number of direct flights from the city. Domestic airlines are operating an average 8 to 10 flights on daily basis during September as compared to six flights in August. Currently, Indigo operates direct flights from the city to Bangaluru, Bhubaneswar, Pune, Mumbai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Delhi. Go Air operates direct flights to Mumbai and Delhi. According to sources, the daily air passenger traffic from Nagpur airport in September has steeply increased and is estimated at 1,600 to 1,800 passengers as compared to 600 to 800 passengers in August. Domestic airlines like Indigo and Go Air are planning to start additional flights from September 15. Air India will be starting NagpurMumbai flight from September 15 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. With more flights to and from the city, the passenger traffic is set to go up, sources further said. Travel agents also said that they are receiving ticket bookings for international flights to US, Canada, UK, Singapore and Dubai under the Air Bubble agreements. Still there is a long way to go considering the air passenger traffic and number of flights compared to pre-lockdown period when there were about 25 to 26 flights and 8,000 passengers travelling daily from the city, sources added.