Saturday, August 10, 2019

Airfares skyrocket for expat Keralites in festival season

Thiruvananthapuram: The airfares between West Asian and Kerala cities are burning a hole in the pockets of expatriates who look to reach home for the coming festival season. There is already 100 to 200 per cent rise in airfares to Kerala at present and it is expected to cross 300 per cent this Onam with the shortage of flights between the state and the Gulf.

What is more shocking is the callousness of national carrier Air India and its Kochi-headquartered low-budget arm, Air India Express. Despite the Centre’s permission to the national carrier and its subsidiary to use the slots vacated by the grounded Jet Airways to clear the extra rush on the routes between West Asia and Kerala, both airlines have been dragging their feet.

A senior Air India Express official told Express that most of the slots vacated by Jet Airways are money-spinning routes. For instance, the Thiruvananthapuram-Doha route vacated by Jet would have been taken up by any airline company without a second thought as the occupancy rate on the route is always beyond the market dynamics. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the national carrier to stabilise the route if there is any vacuum or over-exploitation by private airlines.

The vacuum created with the exit of Jet is being effectively used by private airlines by hiking their ticket prices two- to three-fold. The high demand and paucity of enough seats on critical routes allow the airline companies to plunder the passengers under the dynamic ticket pricing system.
10/08/19 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express

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