Sunday, August 18, 2019

Airfares to West Asia go through the roof

Airlines have hiked fares by 300 to 500% from the four international airports in the State to almost all destinations in West Asia to cash in on the demand among Non-Resident Keralites (NoRKs) returning after summer vacation of educational institutions in the Gulf.

With NoRKs returning, the fares, which were in the range of ₹4,500 to ₹13,000 in the West Asia-Kerala sector during off-season, have been hiked steeply by the airlines, including the national carrier Air India and Air India Express.

The lowest fare available as on date in the Kerala-West Asia sector on August 31 varies from ₹19,025 in the Thiruvananthapuram-Sharjah sector to ₹92,043 in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kuwait sector.
The increase in fares by airlines based in India and West Asia, including budget carriers, has upset the travel plans of hundreds of NoRKs who have to fly back to their workplace.
The educational institutions in the Gulf will reopen on September 1 after the summer vacation. Economy class seats are not available in the scheduled airlines. Fares are high on the airlines that operate directly to the key destinations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The 95 per cent of the NoRKS cannot afford travel in the business class as the fares have been increased. Those families depending on budget airlines are the worst-hit. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dammam, Riyadh, Doha, Kuwait and Bahrain had not been spared from the hike.
The grounding of the Jet Airways and the inability to operate international flights of foreign carriers from the Kannur international airport have compounded the problems of the NoRK flyers from the Malabar region.
Last year also, the airlines hiked the fares steeply as the reopening of the educational institutions in the Gulf was after Bakrid on August 22 and Onam on August 25. Travel trade sources say the airline will go in for another steep hike in the West Asia-Kerala-West Asia sector during the coming Onam season in September.
18/08/19 S. Anil Radhakrishnan/The Hindu
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