Pay less for flights on Diwali eve. That seems to be the mantra as carriers are substantially lowering the average spot airfare of tickets on Diwali eve, usually the highest in a calendar year, that are booked a week before departure. Thanks to increased capacity by airlines on some of the routes and a slowdown in certain sectors of the economy, a lower priceline around the festival of lights seems the new normal.
However, flight tickets from Mumbai, the most congested airport in the country, continues to buck the trend owing to capacity constraints which limit the number of flights that can be operated from the airport.
According to data from travel portal Yatra, airfares in the Delhi-Mumbai route shrank by 38% to `3,412 compared to the day before Diwali last year. Ditto on the Hyderabad-Delhi route, which fell by 32% to Rs 4,481, while on the Delhi-Kolkata route, the decrease was comparatively lower, 6% to `5,759. Spot fares on another popular route, Delhi-Bengaluru, have managed to remain flat at Rs 5,611.
Capacity constraints in Mumbai have led to a substantial rise in ticket prices to most of the metro cities since airlines can now operate a limited number of flights. Average ticket prices on the day before Diwali increased by a whopping 76% to Rs 15,802 compared to the same day last year. On the Mumbai-Bengaluru route, too, spot airfares have increased by 104% to Rs 8,045 compared with just Rs 3,946.
According to a senior Air India executive, prices on some of the routes have come down this year, especially the ones in which capacity has been added. This is, of course, with the exception of Mumbai.
IndiGo, the country’s largest carrier by market share, also announced a three-day discount — from October 11 to October 13 — on certain sectors, including the metro routes.
Travel will have to be commenced within 15 days of booking the ticket. The discounts also include destinations like Jaipur, Amritsar and Srinagar, which are popular tourist destinations. Vistara — a full-service carrier — also announced similar discounts on flight tickets for travel around the Diwali period.
According to a survey conducted by Yatra, last-minute fares are on the lower side on popular routes compared to previous years due to increased capacity, but higher on others where there has been no significant increase in capacity. This also encourages the ongoing trend of advance booking since airlines have announced a series of discounts.
“The last-minute fares for Diwali are on the lower side when compared to the previous year due to increased capacity on popular routes. However, on routes where there has been no significant increase in capacity, we have seen high fares. Additionally, as per our recent festive survey, we observed that 73% of travellers were looking for a quick getaway during Diwali. A similar trend is also reflected in our bookings during the season so far across various lines of businesses,” said Sharad Dhall, COO, Yatra.com.