Air travel will continue to remain expensive during the ongoing festival season, compared to this peak period last year. The fares this year, nevertheless, still remain in the normal zone when compared with the April-June period, when fares skyrocketed due to a sudden capacity crunch post the collapse of Jet Airways.
"With October packed with Dussehra and Diwali festivities, we expect a spike in domestic and international tourism as travellers will be keen on taking a vacation or returning home to be with friends and family. This is the time when people take some time off their daily routine and plan a holiday. Hence, travel requests across the country see a spike," said Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com.
According to data provided by travel agents, Delhi-Mumbai tickets booked close to the peak Diwali season is likely to remain around Rs 4,000, which not only is around 10 per cent less than last year’s fares, but also almost 40-50 per cent less than April-June fares. However, on North India-bound flights, the airfares will be up in the range of 10-20 per cent.
An airline executive said there was no significant hike in airfares during the peak period owing to multiple reasons. “Slowing down of air traffic growth and a fall in economic activity have kept airfares in check. Airfares during Navratri/Durga Puja did not zoom as we would have liked. At the moment, passengers are just not willing to pay higher fares,” the executive said. He hopes a pick-up in fares during the Diwali season, which would help in improving the industry’s revenue and profitability.
Domestic air traffic grew 3.1 per cent during the first seven months of 2019—the slowest pace in at least five years. In August, passenger traffic declined for the third consecutive month even though on a year-on basis it grew 3.8 per cent, as per data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“The passenger load factor in the month of August 2019 has shown declining trend compared to the previous month primarily due to the end of tourist season,” DGCA said in a statement.