With the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounding a total of 11 A320neo aircraft belonging to IndiGo and GoAir (Indigo-8, GoAir-3) over safety concerns earlier this month, spot airfares are slowly beginning to rise as the two carriers have cancelled more than 600 flights between March 15 and 31, thereby curtailing capacity at a time when the passenger load factor is over 90%.
On some of the key routes fares have gone up by almost 50% if the booking was done two days prior to the date of travel. Even if bookings are made for a week later, the trend is on similar lines.
Minimum spot fares on key routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Bengaluru are up from 26-65%, as per data sourced from Yatra.com.
For instance, if you are planning to book a flight (round trip) on the Delhi-Chennai sector for two days later, you will have to shell out a minimum of `8,733, which is 64.77% more than the routine fare for this sector before March 13, the date from which the grounding of aircraft began.
Similarly, on the Delhi-Kolkata circuit, ticket prices are up around 47% to Rs 9,271 for travelling on Friday, March 23. The fares on the busiest domestic route, Delhi-Mumbai, have risen to around Rs 8,223 from Rs 6,248 for bookings made two days prior to the travel date. Flights between Mumbai and Bengaluru have also become dearer by around 27%.
Analysts said if the carriers are not able to increase capacity, fares during the summer holiday season may also rise.
“The recent grounding of some Indigo and GoAir Neo aircraft is likely to have an upward impact on fares as capacity has been reduced in a market that is growing at over 20% on a year on year basis. If these aircraft are out of the market for a substantial time, there will be an inevitable pressure on prices, especially as the peak summer travel season kicks in,” Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com said.
Bookings made for travel a week later have also witnessed an upward trend in prices. The fare on the Delhi-Chennai sector for March 28 are up 63% to Rs 8,617 while a to-and-fro journey between Mumbai and Bengaluru will cost a minimum of Rs 5,553 — up by over 26%. Mumbai-Bengaluru is the third busiest route in the country in terms of passenger traffic.
Starting airfares on Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai sectors, for a journey a week later, have also risen by 25% and 13% respectively. Travellers will have to pay a minimum of `7,884 for Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi flights compared with Rs 6,300 — the usual fares for this spot.
By Arun Nayal