Sucheta Dalal :No airfares are not reaching for the stratosphere
Sucheta Dalal

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No, airfares are not reaching for the stratosphere  

November 18, 2010

The mass media has been abuzz with reports saying that there has been a massive hike in air-ticket fares. A simple reality check reveals that these reports are baseless

For the past couple of days, the country has been abuzz with talks of (nearly) astronomical hikes in domestic air-ticket prices, especially on the Mumbai-New Delhi route.

The Times of India and news channels like Times Now and CNN-IBN have claimed over the past few days that ticket fares have shot through the roof for New Delhi-Mumbai flights, with economy-class tickets costing Rs20,000 even from low-cost carriers for on-the-spot bookings.

Akash Seth of Raj Travels told Moneylife that prices have been high for the New Delhi-Mumbai sector, due to lack of adequate spots on runways and scarcity of seats.

This is surprising, because a simple check revealed that things are not quite as bad. “There has been little hike in air-ticket prices, and we don’t see any such huge hikes as the media has reported,” said Thomas C Thottatil, head of corporate communications at Cox & Kings (India) Ltd. His view was seconded by a Thomas Cook executive, who said that the airfare for New Delhi flights have not recorded any significant hike.

“There has been an increase in ticket prices, but that happened some 2-3 weeks ago,” she told Moneylife.

Online booking sites like Yatra and MakeMyTrip do not reflect any massive hikes in the rates. This morning, an economy-class ticket for Mumbai-New Delhi was priced at around Rs5,000 at the lowest and Rs30,000 at the highest at MakeMyTrip. The minimum and maximum price of a business-class ticket was Rs13,000 and Rs38,000 respectively.  

For Monday, Yatra showed that its economy class ticket fares start at Rs4,000—and they go up to Rs13,000 for business class.

Manoj Gursahani of Travel Mart, however, said that there has been a hike of about 15%-20%, but it is nothing like what has been reported.

According to Mr Thottatil, a hike may be expected, with the rise in the price of jet fuel. Mr Gursahani said, “A hike in fuel price will definitely impact air-ticket prices.” —
Shukti Sarma

-- Sucheta Dalal