Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Aviation woes abroad may keep Indians grounded

New Delhi: Indian travel operators and portals expect the British Airways strike and protests and shutdown of the Hong Kong airport last month to further put the brakes on outbound travel in the current quarter. They said India is likely to register a negative growth in outbound travel this year as the sector is yet to recover from the repercussions of the Jet Airways closure with fares remaining high for West-bound flights.
An executive at the national carrier Air India said fares for markets such as the UK, US, and the Gulf had started picking up soon after the closure of Jet Airways and have stayed the same since then.
“Flight fares to the UK have been up by 30%, and the US by 16%. Overall, Europe has been up by 12-15%, while the Gulf has been up by 20%. Fares have stayed the same way after picking up after the shutdown,” he said. Even fares to Australia have gone up by up to 10%, he said. An airline executive said all airlines were registering a double digit decline in bookings from India to Hong Kong.
The UN World Tourism Organisation had predicted India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020, up from 20 million by 2017.
“With the flight capacity out of India being very limited after the Jet Airways fiasco, airfares have become very high as a result of which outbound travel is lower this year. Fares are almost 30% higher than what they were at the same time last year. That’s largely bringing in the negative growth. Largely West-bound flights to Europe and the US are registering negative growth. When you book a holiday, a large component is the cost of the flight,” said Kapil Goswamy, MD, Bigbreaks.com.
11/09/19 Anumeha Chaturvedi/Economic Times

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