India in World Cup final sends air fares soaring

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: Apr 1 2011, 07:40am hrs
Billed as the mother of all clashes, the final of the ICC World Cup cricket between India and Sri Lanka has already drawn fans to Mumbai, where the match will be played at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. Cricket lovers across India are ready to pay even a 30% premium on last minute air fares, barring those who had booked their seats earlier.

Says Rajesh Rateria, chairperson, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), western region, There are already a huge number of flights from all sectors to Mumbai. For instance, there are 54 daily flights to the city from Delhi. Simultaneously, there are over 30 daily flights each from Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad to Mumbai. Hence, seats will be available, but at a premium. He further said a Delhi-Mumbai flight after Indias victory in the semi final match on Wednesday has soared up to R10,000 from the earlier R4,000-5,000. On the Kolkata-Mumbai sector, the current fare levels are R8,000 from the earlier R5,000. Even the Ahmedabad-Mumbai sector is seeing a rush at fares above R3,000.

An official from a full service carrier adds, The tickets for the final match are priced at anything between R35,000-R50,000 for getting a seat in the stadium If an ardent cricket lover can pay a steep price to view the match, he will not mind paying a higher air fare. He further said there is a huge rush for online bookings on the respective airlines website. However, airlines have not hiked fares, he added.

Ankur Bhatia, managing director, Amadeus India (a travel solutions provider), said, Mumbai is very well connected with other parts of India. Flights will be available and only those cricket fans who have purchased tickets to watch at the stadium will be keen to fly to the city. The situation cannot be compared with the semi-final match between India and Pakistan held in Mohali, Chandigarh on Wednesday wherein fares shot up on demand and airlines had to press in more flights.

Sri Lankas national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines will operate an additional flight to Mumbai on Saturday, to cater to cricket fans who want to see the World Cup final in Mumbai. This flight to Mumbai is in addition to the airlines regular daily frequency to Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 tournament started almost two months ago with 14-nations, now narrowed down to two. Early finalist Sri Lanka will battle India for World Cup title. The winner will receive the prestigious ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy and a prize money of $3 million.