Additional flights demanded as fares soar

June 28, 2022 08:09 pm | Updated 08:09 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The call for operating additional flights on trunk routes, especially between West Asian cities and Kerala, has got louder with airfares skyrocketing with the beginning of peak season.

Fares between West Asian cities and Kerala have witnessed a jump of around 300 to 600%. The fares are rising sharply, driven by a combination of factors, including rising fuel costs, vacations in Gulf countries, and shortage of seats.

Dammam-Thiruvananthapuram airfare on July 1 is ₹61,716, while it is ₹68,711 in the Riyadh-Thiruvananthapuram sector. Kuwait-Thiruvananthapuram fare is ₹60,045, while the fare is ₹61,539 between Doha and Thiruvananthapuram.

“Passengers will have to be ready to pay through their nose to get home this vacation season, ‘‘says K.V. Muralidharan, president, Kerala Association of Travel Agents.

More than 25% of flights are not operational and the vacation season in the Gulf has forced airlines to jack up fares as the ticket-booking system is demand-driven. In the past, the government used to intervene to operate more flights during peak seasons to reduce the fares and make available more seats. The State and Central governments should intervene in the matter urgently, says Mr. Muralidharan.

Sources in the airline industry say a good number of airline companies are yet to bring all their idling aircraft back to service despite many countries opening the skies for international travel after the peak COVID season. Fewer aircraft mean fewer seats and obviously the demand will be high in peak seasons, pushing up fares, say experts.

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