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Air fares on domestic routes skyrocket after flight cancellations

PW Bureau

Apart from Jet grounding flights and IndiGo cancelling many, SpiceJet too grounded flights after aviation regulator directed the carriers to stop flying Boeing 737 New Delhi: Following multiple flight cancellations by Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo, air fares for domestic routes have shot up to 100 percent, said officials working at airlines and travel companies. “Compared to the last month, last-minute fares have risen by 50-100 percent, especially on the metro routes (such as Delhi-Mumbai),” said Balu Ramachandran, head of the air business at travel portal Cleartrip.com. “Several reasons, primarily the 8-10 percent decrease in capacity, have led to this,” he added.

Cutdown capacity aggravated fare hikes

“There has already been a year-on-year 15-20 percent increase in fares. Flights have been getting good occupancy rates. This cutdown in capacity has aggravated the rise in fares,” said Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer of the business-to-consumer segment at Yatra.com.

Aviation sector hit by groundings and cancellations

Mostly because of non-payment of rentals to lessors and a paucity of spare parts, Jet Airways has been made to ground over 45 percent of its fleet, sources said. Hit with a shortage of pilots, IndiGo has pre-cancelled 30 daily flights for the next few weeks. And SpiceJet, earlier this week, grounded 12 of its flights after the Indian aviation regulator directed the carrier to stop flying the Boeing 737 Max planes, following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight of the same make. SpiceJet had planned an optimum use of its existing fleet of 64 planes. “Some Boeing 737 NGs (the previous version of the Max planes) and Bombardier Q400 jets were underutilised. It has optimised their use. Many additional frequencies are now being operated by these planes, thus minimising the impact of the cancellations,” a source close to the development said.