Be ready to pay more if you want to travel by air as airlines in the country are looking at a 10 to 15 per cent hike in airfares due to a recent increase in the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices, according to Times of India. This news comes after jet fuel or ATF prices were hiked by a steep 6 per cent on firming international rates on Sunday. This is the third straight increase in rates of aviation fuel since the month of August. According to news agency PTI, Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) will now cost Rs 53,045 per kilolitre (kl) in Delhi, Rs 3,025 per kl more than Rs 50,020 previously, according to a price hike notification by Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s biggest fuel retailer. In the last hike in ATF price, the fuel rates increased by 4 per cent (Rs 1,910 per kl) on September 1.
On Sunday, oil marketing companies raised prices by 6% for both cooking gas (LPG) and ATF. This hike has taken place in a time when the rupee is weakening against the US dollar. According to the report by TOI, no airline has come on record to talk about the impact of costlier ATF. However, it states that the increase in the rates of ATF in a time when the value of rupee is weak leaves them with few options but to raise fares unless they want to meet a Kingfisher-like fate. An airline official was quoted saying, “We will take a decision shortly on fares. The operating cost has gone up substantially, and we have to pass on the same to flyers.”
Along with the above-mentioned hike in the prices, the central government from August 1 has started levying a regional connectivity cess of Rs 5,000 on each flight, according to the report. Due to this, most of the airlines have transferred this regional connectivity cess to passengers too. Up until now, due to the low crude prices, airlines were able to offer low fares to passengers which had led to over 20% growth in domestic air traffic for several months in a row till this summer.