Tamil Nadu

Soaring air fares leave flyers in a fix

Costly affair: International flyers are forced to pay sky high fares owing to limited availability of flights.   | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

When Manam Jain planned to go to the U.S. for his education, he did not expect that he would have to pay ₹1.67 lakh for his flight. Similarly, Kala Mishra who planned to come down to Chennai from London, was shocked to learn that she would have to pay ₹60,000 as against the usual fare of ₹30,000. “I have been longing to see my family and wanted to somehow fly back to India. I am looking at various options to see how I can plan my trip,” she says.

Flyers are struggling to make it as the fares have been rising on some routes.

Prakash S. says: “My son and his family are coming down from Canada in December and he is spending ₹2.5 lakh on flights alone. We haven’t seen one another for two years.”

Travel agents attribute the steep rise in fares to limited number of flights available and high demand.

S. Jeyasekaran of Travel Agents Association of India, Chennai chapter, says fares are phenomenally high for destinations in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Dubai in December and passengers are feeling the pinch. For instance, a flight ticket from London to Chennai is priced from ₹50,000 to ₹60,000 and some days, it rises to ₹1.2 lakh. Similarly, for destinations in the U.S. and Canada, fares touch ₹1 lakh and above. “People don’t have a choice. The ones travelling are the ones who want to meet their families because of some emergency or prior commitment, including weddings,” he says.

Travel agents say one of the primary reasons for such high rates is the limited number of flights and high demand for seats.

Tushar Jain of Roundtrip.in says as against the normal number of eight to 10 flights, there are only two or three now. “For instance, there used to be usually six or seven flights to Dubai but only two are in operation now. Similarly, there are just one or two flights to London,” he says.

Sriharan Balan of Madura Travels says that earlier, flyers were reluctant to travel because of safety concerns but since the economy has picked up and the daily tally of COVID-19 cases has been on the decline, people are confident of flying abroad. “Many have waited for more than a year to visit their families. We hear that regular commercial flights may start soon and we are asking passengers to push their travel dates to avoid spending so much on flight fares,” he adds.

There aren’t many who want to travel abroad during Christmas and New Year this reason as well.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 11:20:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/soaring-air-fares-leave-flyers-in-a-fix/article37815272.ece

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