As we head into the last couple of weeks of the year, airfares are higher on most of the key routes in and out of the country.
Airfares for last-minute international flights have witnessed a sharp jump this Christmas-New Year due to a combination of factors like the recent spurt in airlines’ operating costs and choked Indian mega airports’ inability to provide slots as per rising demands.
Travel portal Yatra analysed international fares from Delhi and Mumbai for December-end which shows spot Mumbai-San Francisco airfares rising by 45% and Delhi-New York up by 26%. However, according to data, airfares on a few select routes have fallen due to airlines adding some flights to those places.
Airfares have seen a rise to the four hot destinations for Indians during vacations – US, Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia.
Overall, demand from Indian travellers on these key routes is increasing, while the airline capacity has not kept in pace with that, resulting in fares going up during the peak travel period.
Indian airports are operating way beyond their built capacity as no infrastructure augmentation has taken place in last few years as demand soared.
The existing Mumbai airport is completely choked and the second airport is about five years away. Delhi’s IGIA, despite having all required free land, did not get the fourth runway or new or bigger terminals in time to meet the growing traffic requirement. The story is the same in almost all big cities.
Apart from choked airports which anyway can’t handle more flights, India has not increased the bilaterals or flying rights of nearby countries like UAE, Singapore and Turkey. So their airlines can’t add flights to cities where airports can still take some flights.
While Indian carriers fly to these countries (except Turkey), flying connections to rest of the world through nearby international hubs are limited due to mega carriers not being able to add flight here. This adds to the hike in fare during peak seasons.