Air travel this Diwali can be expensive.
Air fares on major routes across the country for the festive week – between November 10 and November 17 – are already higher than last year’s Diwali week due to high demand and limited capacity amid GoFirst’s bankruptcy and SpiceJet’s financial troubles up to 89 percent. ,
As per the data provided, the average one-way airfare on the Delhi-Ahmedabad route for the period November 10-17 is Rs 5,688, which is 72 per cent higher than last year’s Diwali week (October 21- October 27, 2022). By travel website Ixigo. This is for tickets booked 80 days before the date of journey.
Last Diwali, around 290 flights per week were operating on the Delhi-Ahmedabad route. According to airline officials, for this Diwali, airlines are currently operating 15 per cent fewer flights on this route.
“GoFirst used to operate around 42 weekly flights on the Delhi-Ahmedabad route. They are gone. SpiceJet has reduced its services on this route last year. It currently operates around 14 weekly flights. There are no planes to operate more flights on this route,” explained an airline executive.
GoFirst suspended all its flights from May 3 and filed for bankruptcy. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had last month approved GoFirst’s plan to resume flights subject to the outcome of pending court cases and availability of interim funding. The airline is yet to resume flights.
Air fares are also on the rise as demand for air travel – even in low season – has increased significantly this year. “June and July, which are traditionally low seasons, recorded more domestic air traffic this year (12.4 and 12.1 million passengers respectively) than the peak festival season of October 2022 (11.4 million passengers). There is a possibility of an increase in airfares on major routes during this year’s Diwali.”The increase in capacity by the end of the year may provide some relief to fares in India,” an ixigo spokesperson told Business Standard.
According to ixigo data, the average one-way airfare on the Delhi-Srinagar route for Diwali week this year is Rs 7,175, up 89.11 per cent from last year’s Diwali week. For this year’s Diwali, airlines are set to operate 33 per cent fewer flights on the Delhi-Srinagar route than they currently do. “GoFirst used to operate around 72 flights per week on the Delhi-Srinagar route. No other airline has been able to fill that gap,” explained an airline official.
Ixigo data shows that on the Bengaluru-Hyderabad route, the average one-way airfare for Diwali week this year is Rs 1,914, up 63 per cent from last year. This is despite the fact that airlines are set to operate around 40 per cent more flights this Diwali.
According to data from aviation analytics firm Sirium, SpiceJet is scheduled to operate a total of 1,266 flights a week this month – a decline of 41.5 per cent compared to August last year. The airline is finding it difficult to make timely payments to its aircraft lessors. As of August 1, 26 of its total 62 aircraft were grounded, according to Cerium’s data.
SpiceJet said earlier this week that it plans to bring back 25 grounded aircraft to service.
High airfares had become a concern for the government in May when GoFirst abruptly stopped flights on May 3. With GoFirst passengers transferred to other airlines, air fares shot up to such a level that Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia called a meeting with the airlines. In which he asked them to self-monitor ticket prices, especially in the upper fare band.