Indian private air carriers and foreign airlines have hiked fares and are virtually fleecing fliers as Air India ( AI) cancelled most of its international flights on the ninth consecutive day of the pilots’ strike on Wednesday.
Jet Airways and foreign carriers such as British Airways and Emirates are among the airlines which have jacked up fares despite Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) warning the airlines not to raise prices to unreasonable levels.
While AI has kept fares at Rs 26,593 for a one- way ticket to London to attract passengers, it has been forced to book its fliers on Jet Airways and British Airways.
However, hapless passengers end up paying more than double the amount for the last- minute switch in flights. For instance, the fare for New Delhi- London route for May 20 for Jet Airways is as high as Rs 58, 571 one- way while that being clubbed by AI for British Airways it is touching Rs 85,241. In the case of Emirates, the fare is about Rs 78,665. Similarly, the Lufthansa’s fare on the New Delhi- London route is Rs 82,198. Qatar and Etihad have lower fares ranging between Rs 36,000 and Rs 43,000.
Travel agents said these are the real rates for the New Delhi- London route. Fares beyond this have only been hiked keeping in mind the rising demand due to AI suspending most of its international flights. “ The average fare rise has been over 30 per cent. Passengers are finding it difficult to get seats.
Due to a demand- supply mismatch, airlines are benefiting,” said Omprakash Mishra, a Delhibased travel agent.
Another travel agent said a return economy class fare on Mumbai- London route is available between Rs 65,000 and Rs 80,000 while it earlier cost less than Rs 50,000 before the strike.
Similarly, for the Mumbai- Bangkok route, the current fares range from Rs 22,000- Rs 32,000 while the prices before the AI strike was at maximum of Rs 18,000.
For New Delhi- New York and Mumbai- New York routes, the fare, which is over Rs 1 lakh, was between Rs 65,000 and Rs 80,000.
Travel agents said a return ticket on the Mumbai- London route was earlier available for Rs 40,000 but it has now risen to Rs 50,000- Rs 55,000.
At least, 15 international flights were cancelled on Wednesday even as the airline claimed to have put in its contingency plan to salvage its overseas operations by clubbing flights to destinations in Europe and the US.
JET AIRWAYS pilots have topped the list of most drunk pilots, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said on Wednesday. Of the 14 pilots and 31 cabin crew members who have been found reporting for duty under the influence of alcohol till March this year, most belonged to the airline, Singh said. Two pilots and nine cabin crew of IndiGo, three pilots and cabin crew each of AI, two pilots and three cabin crew of SpiceJet, one pilot and three cabin crew of JetLite and two pilots and a cabin crew of Kingfisher Airlines failed the preflight breath analyser test.
Mail Today Bureau