KOCHI: Onam and Bakrid are just around the corner. And so are the days when flight tickets cost a bomb. With Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s intervention to reduce surge pricing not eliciting any surety from either the airline companies or the Union Civil Aviation Ministry officials, this festive season is set to be a costly affair for the Malayali diaspora waiting to fly back home. As major airlines refuse to come forward to conduct additional services during the peak season, airfares will be ruling high this time too, industry experts say.
Given the epicurean Malayali mindset in general once back in Kerala, awaiting them will be a spending spree—from purchasing luxury items to enjoying delectable food and drinks to buying textile goods. That after having tried not to let a single penny go out of their pockets unnecessarily while sweating away in the deserts of West Asia. This time, the Chief Minister had promised thousands of Malayalis toiling in West Asia that they can reach home at an affordable price in the wake of a meeting called by him in Thiruvananthapuram. While he mooted reducing the surge pricing during the festive season, the Union Civil Aviation secretary then responded affirmatively.
However, Civil Aviation Ministry officials have confirmed no Indian carrier—except Air India Express—has requested for grant of additional traffic rights during the festival season to cater to the demand of Malayalis during peak season. Air India Express’ request to mount additional flights during the peak season was approved. If there are no additional flights, the airfare will naturally skyrocket as the airlines follow the dynamic pricing system.