NEW DELHI: The government today said there has been "no abnormal increase" in airfares following the grounding of 14 aircraft on engine issues and that only 1-2 per cent of the total capacity has been impacted by the decision.
IndiGo and GoAir, whose 14 A320 neo planes on the ground, have decided to cancel more than 600 flights this month resulting in tough times for passengers who already have booked tickets.
Against this backdrop, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said the civil aviation ministry has been monitoring prices on the impacted route and that "there has not been a significant or abnormal increase in airfares".
"With 17 engines (14 aircraft) grounded due to safety considerations, imp to note that it is around 2 per cent of capacity.
With two planes coming in every week, we expect supply-demand to be back in balance quickly.
Fares have not seen any meaningful spike," Sinha said in a tweet.
Along with the tweet, he posted a statement with an analysis of statistics about engines and aircraft grounded as well as flights cancelled.
Seeking to allay concerns over flight cancellations, the minister said the 1-2 per cent capacity impact is small in light of the industry, which is adding capacity at 20 per cent year-on-year.
"1.5 to 2 per cent capacity growth is taking place every month. The capacity impact of this safety measure is expected to be mitigated in a few weeks," he noted.
The number of engines grounded is 17 compared to 1,174 engines in service and the ratio translates to 1.4 per cent, as per the analysis. In terms of aircraft, Sinha said 14 have been grounded whereas there are 582 under scheduled operations.
This ratio comes to 2.4 per cent.
According to him, the total number of flights cancelled is 378 from March 15 to 21, while the departures planned during this period is 18,781.
The "number of flights cancelled over the period/ total departures: 2 per cent," as per the analysis.
Taking the March 15 to 21 period, the minister said that available seat kilometres impacted is around 78 million, while the expected available seat kilometres flown domestically is about 2,744 million.
The minister also reiterated that that safety of passengers is of paramount concern to it.