Thursday, November 12, 2020

Airlines await Deepavali cheer

New Delhi: Deepavali is the time for family reunions and all around cheer, including for airlines that see a surge in demand for travel. This year though is different as data from online travel agents shows that passengers are far more hesitant while making a flight booking.

Demand for travel in the first week of November is only 8% more than the first week of October, according to travel portal A surge in COVID-19 cases in various metros as well as concerns about likely travel restrictions mean that passengers wait until the last minute to book their travel.

“One way trips account for 78% of those being undertaken between November 7 and November 15. This indicates that most customers prefer to have flexibility in travel plans and are booking closer to the date of travel,” says Cleartrip’s Aditya Agarwal, Head of Corporate Strategy.

The top 10 routes are dominated by those originating in business centres such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune and destined for cities in northern and eastern parts of the country such as Jaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kolkata.

But, a shift towards leisure travel too is beginning to happen.

“We are also witnessing a trend of ‘escape tourism’ in metros like Delhi, where increasing level of pollution has tourists flocking to destinations like Goa in search of fresh air. We have seen a 74% month-on-month increase in bookings for Goa in October. Low airfares this year around Deepavali are also further encouraging travellers to travel for leisure,” says ixigo CEO & Co-founder Aloke Bajpai.

12/11/20 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

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