Most airlines are also deploying lesser capacity because they don’t have the required number of aircraft. Aircraft which were unused during the lockdown, returned leases and delayed new aircraft deliveries are preventing them from adding more flights when more people want to fly.
The global airline scenario is different since the start of the pandemic, with many airlines going bust or largely scaling back their operations as Covid-19 travel restrictions took their toll. Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines chief operating officer, told WSJ, “It’s unusual. You have demand quickly outstripping supply like this. I think we have a couple of years where demand and supply may not be as aligned as it was pre-pandemic,” he said.
Passengers want Government intervention
Back home in India, fares have been on an upswing because of the demand. A recent survey by community social media platform LocalCircles has indicated that two out of three fliers want the government to bring back an upper and lower limit on air fares as was prevalent during most part of the pandemic. The survey received over 22,000 responses from consumers located in 297 districts
“Booking in advance is not producing any great fares. Two things have happened, airlines have not deployed full capacity and two is there is fair bit of pent-up demand. So, it is combination of the two which has led to fares being what they are,” said Ajay Prakash, CEO of Nomad Travels and President of Travel Agents Federation of India. Prakash says that the prolonged visa delays with US and Europe travellers and surge in ticket prices have been a bummer for tourists this year.
As the travel stabilises post Covid, the longer-term structural shortages in the system are being exposed, which travel experts say will take years to address.
Sample this, for the weekend of November 12-14 the fares to Kolkata from Mumbai are between 19,000 to 21,000 and to Goa 5,000 to 13000. And now experts warn with the Christmas holidays approaching fares are only going to get higher. Refer to the chat below to check for fares to other cities.
Online travel agent Cleartrip has seen around a 6% increase in airfares till September this year.
Amit Shirodkar who wanted to take a vacation in November to the North-East with his family, skipped the idea and instead went to Mahableshwar. “We were four of us and the ticket prices for Sikkim were 80k, which was absurd. These are the prices for Bangkok or Dubai. And we were looking at fares from April, not last minute,” says the advertising executive. The Shirodkar family instead took a road trip to Mahableshwar.