NEW DELHI: Airfares on key routes have shot up as several IndiGo and GoAir flights got cancelled in the past three days after the aviation regulator grounded aircraft with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines.
When Express checked the fares on Wednesday for a Thursday flight on major routes such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai, they were unusually high.
A peak time Delhi-Mumbai ticket was priced over Rs 95,000 while the starting fare on this route was Rs 9,000.
Surge price was the name of the game as the peak tariff on the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Hyderabad routes were Rs 81,580 and Rs 50,000, respectively. Ditto Mumbai-Hyderabad at Rs 82,000-plus. On Delhi-Kolkata and Mumbai-Bengaluru sectors, fares kissed the Rs 50,000-mark.
Airfares to tier-2 cities like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai shot up as well, crossing even Rs 70,000. Interestingly, the tickets for a Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram route on a Sri Lankan airlines flight with a layover at Colombo was priced at Rs 14,000. Flying to smaller cities like Madurai and Coimbatore from Chennai became expensive and tickets crossed Rs 25,000 and Rs 35,000, respectively.
The starting airfare on many routes went up to Rs 9,000-12,000 from their usual band of Rs 6,000-9,000 for late bookings. Airlines that were selling tickets at a high price included Jet Airways, Vistara and Air India.
IndiGo and GoAir cancelled around 50 flights on Wednesday.
Almost a lakh for a two-hour flight!
A Delhi-Mumbai ticket for Thursday was being sold at over Rs 95,000, while fares on Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Hyderabad route shot up to Rs 81,580 and Rs 50,000, respectively
While Jet Airways refused to comment, a spokesperson of Vistara said the price rise had nothing to with grounding of aircraft of IndiGo and GoAir.
“Fares are not manually raised and lowered on a day-to-day basis in reaction to tactical situations. Revenue management systems are far more sophisticated than that. Fares are the result of complex algorithms that are driven by the dynamics of demand and supply for a perishable commodity,” said a Vistara spokesperson.
Notably, there was not much of a fare difference in the tickets of IndiGo and GoAir, whose 11 A320 neo aircraft powered by a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines have been grounded by aviation regulator
DGCA following instances of engine failures during flights. The grounding of aircraft of the two budget carriers led to many flight cancellations across the country.
“The flight cancellations have definitely led to an increase in demand and a decrease in supply and the airlines are using this to their advantage by increasing air fares,” said an aviation expert.