The aviation industry is up in arms over the jet fuel price increase, saying they will be forced to effect a corresponding hike in ticket prices to offset costs. However, they also fear a consequent slide in passenger numbers if fares keep on rising.
India’s largest travel trade association with more than 2,500 members, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), has also highlighted the issue of rising ATF several times as prices have increased over 120% since June 2021. Jyoti Mayal, president, TAAI, said, “We are looking towards the government to take steps to control the rise. Our members have already started complaining that travellers are moving from air travel to other means, especially railways. We are going through the peak tourist season and a sudden price rise has once again devastated the industry. While the government is doing its best to manage international hikes by finding other means and avenues to buy oil from different countries, at the domestic level, states must come forward to reduce taxation and support the travel industry.”
Airfares have consistently been on the rise in the past few months.
However, even as the sector expects a dip in air travel as a result of a curb on leisure travel, business travel might not get affected much. Already, flights have seen an 83% recovery in domestic travel and 70% recovery in international travel this year. “For flights, average fares have gone up 30% in the past two months. Despite this, consumer sentiment to travel this year is strong,” says Aloke Bajpai, group CEO & co-founder, ixigo, a travel portal.
For business travel, charter flights are also getting popular. “Charter flights have increased during and post-Covid. Many corporates have placed orders for private jets and since today most small airports are connected under the Udan scheme, flyers prefer flights over train,” says Santosh Sharma, co-founder and CEO, Foresee Aviation, a professional private jet and helicopter aggregator.