With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, the aviation industry is witnessing a remarkable recovery in passenger traffic although the air fares have significantly increased. Travel agents are smiling these days as air travel is booming and ticket bookings have jumped by more than 30 per cent.
“With the fear of the pandemic fading away, people are making travel plans to visit their favourite destinations. Apart from this, business travellers are back. As a result domestic ticket bookings have surged by 30 per cent,” said Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Nagpur Chapter while speaking to The Hitavada.
As the number of cases of COVID-19 dropped across the world, the Government had allowed international flights to resume operations in the country from March 27. This move by the Government gave confidence to people that life was getting normal and it was safe to travel again.
“As of now, both domestic and international flights have resumed operations and travel agents feel that the ticket bookings would return to the pre-COVID-19 levels in the near future. Currently, both domestic and international bookings have taken off on a good note. After two years of fear and quarantine restrictions, business travel is also growing,” he
Agrawal said that during the pandemic there was a steep drop in passenger traffic therefore domestic airlines reduced the number of flights from Nagpur airport.
But now the situation has improved and the number of air passengers have increased. Currently, most flights coming to and going out of Nagpur airport are full. Looking at the good demand, domestic carriers should start additional flights on the Nagpur-Mumbai and Nagpur-Delhi routes, he suggested.
Although, there is a rise in air passengers, the ticket fares have also surged by 50 per cent on the domestic as well as the international routes. For instance, a person booking a ticket from Nagpur to Mumbai two months in advance would get it at an average rate of Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,000. Now, they are getting it at average rate of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000.
Similarly, booking a ticket two to three days in advance is available at Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000, as compared to Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 three months ago.
“The Government should intervene and cap the ticket rates in the interest of passengers,” Agrawal added.
Jatindra Nakade, Director of Travel Links and former Chairman of TAAI Nagpur Chapter said, “As restrictions are eased and air travel bans lifted, travellers are planning for vacations and summer holidays with their family and friends. We are receiving bookings in large numbers to North India. Air ticket bookings are witnessing a strong growth of over 40 per cent.”