Friday, January 08, 2021

Chartered flight or booking all tickets on a plane, what will cost you more in India?

New Delhi: ICYMI, a man from Jakarta, on January 5, took social distancing to a whole new level by booking an entire flight for himself and his wife. Richard Muljadi, a socialite based in Jakarta, Indonesia, booked the entire flight to prevent exposure to Covid-19, and ensure a safe journey to Bali for himself and his wife.

The news went viral after Muljadi took to Instagram to announce the news to his social media followers. The man, who is famous for living an extravagant lifestyle, had shared a picture of an empty flight, with he and his wife being the only passengers.

Muljadi, who had travelled from Jakarta to Bali on a Batik Air flight, did not reveal the money he paid to book a private flight. However, he did mention that he booked as many seats as possible, instead of chartering the flight, as the first option was cheaper than the latter.

This is not the first time that we have heard of something extravagant like this happen. Individuals with enough resources and money, scared of travelling on a flight with other passengers during the Covid-19 outbreak, have chartered flights earlier. And it happened closer home in India.

A high-net-worth family chartered an Airbus A320 to fly just four people - daughter, two grandchildren and a nanny - from Bhopal to Delhi. In May, during the initial months of the pandemic, a Madhya Pradesh liquor baron, Jagdeesh Arora, who owns Som Distilleries, had chartered a 180-seater aircraft for a more than 1-hour Delhi-Bhopal-Delhi flight to ensure the family reached Delhi safely.

The aircraft was hired in Delhi; it took off from the national capital at 9.30 am and reached Bhopal at around 10.30 am. It took off from Bhopal for Delhi at around 11.30 am with four people on board.

If Richard Muljadi is to be believed, chartering a flight, instead of the cost-friendly solution he claims he opted for, would have cost a whopping amount of money. So, we decided to figure out the costs, and according to industry insiders, a chartered flight would cost a lot more than booking all the seats on a flight.

The Batik Air flight that Muljadi took is a Boeing 737, and for the Jakarta to Bali route, per seat would cost anywhere around Rs 3,000. A Boeing 737 on an average has over 170 seats (maximum 189 seats). So, if Muljadi booked almost every seat on the flight to ensure he and his wife fly alone, he would have had to spend more than Rs 5 lakh for the trip.

However, if one plans to charter a flight, it would cost them approximately Rs 5 lakh per hour, to do so - in India.

To charter an Airbus A320, the same aircraft that the Indian family chartered for their trip to Delhi, one would have to spend approximately Rs 5 lakh per hour, inclusive of all charges such as ground handling, parking, waiting charges. So, if one takes a two-hour flight from Delhi to places such as Mumbai or Kolkata, a round-trip would approximately come up to Rs 20 lakh in a chartered flight.

08/01/21 Krishna Priya Pallavi/India Today

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