Sunday, October 30, 2016

Taking a flight besieged by fuel woes

Kochi: In what may be termed a double whammy for Malayali expatriates who are already beleaguered by exorbitant airfares, airline companies operating between Kerala and international destinations are yet to reduce the fuel surcharge introduced when oil prices were ruling high, despite the crude price hitting record lows.   Some of the airlines jacked up airfares for travel between the Gulf and Kerala five-seven times, during the peak season. And, they continue to charge ridiculously high fuel surcharges, sometimes more than double the basic fare, from Malayalis who are already bearing the brunt of the economic slowdown in the Gulf caused by the crash in global oil prices.
Though fuel surcharge is levied on flights  to all destinations in India, Kerala is one of the worst hit states, which accounts for more than half of the Indian diaspora in the Gulf region.

“While the sharp fall in oil prices has brought a huge windfall for aviation sector, most of the airlines are unwilling to pass the benefit on to customers. Passengers booking tickets under the ‘YQ’ and ‘YR’ tax-codes are made to pay exorbitant fares, which comprise fuel surcharge, insurance premium and whatever else that is fit to be added to basic fare,” says IATA Agents Association of India national president Biji Eapen.

For instance, while the basic fare for  return ticket to Dubai from Kochi and vice-versa on Emirates, for travelling on November 10 and returning on Feb 5, is around `3,000, the YQ charge is `8,024. For the same booking, Jet Airways charges basic fare of `5,100 and YQ charge of `8,024. The case is almost the same with all the airlines that operate from Kerala, both on the international and domestic routes.
30/10/16 Dhinesh Kallungal/Indian Express

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