Monday, June 28, 2021

Most airlines putting out cheap fares for travel in August-Oct

Mumbai: Conventionally, airfares cool in June and July. This year, fares are high as government hiked its lowest fare cap by around 15% for travel in June-July. Then the drop in Covid cases brought about a spike in demand for air travel, and what you have is the cheapest fare, say on the Mumbai-Delhi route, priced over Rs10,000. Even for travel late next month. But for August, the cheapest return fare on Mumbai-Delhi is Rs4,600. A similar fare drop can be seen across most domestic sectors. On sale or not, most airlines have put out cheap fares for travel in August-October to rake in much-needed forward booking revenue.

Among routes on which fares dropped considerably from August, compared to June-July, are those from Mumbai to Kolkata, Srinagar, Chennai, Kochi, Varanasi and Lucknow. The cheapest return fare to fly from Mumbai to Srinagar is over Rs15,000 for the next five weeks, but for August, the fare starts at Rs8,300. Alliance Air, Vistara and SpiceJet offered monsoon sale schemes last week, though airfares for August-October are low across most airlines.

But if there is one reason to not book now, it’s uncertainty over the third Covid wave. Airlines have considered that. “In the monsoon sale, most airlines are offering one date change free depending on the sector and fare category, due to lockdown,” said Jay Bhatia, vice-president of Travel Agents’ Association of India. “It’s always easy to change bookings and obtain refunds when the ticket is booked through travel agents. Travellers are tired of staying home and are ready to holiday or commence business flights on completion of two shots of the vaccine,’’ he said. Another incentive is that airfares from August are not yet capped. “If fare capping comes in later, no additional fare will have to be paid by passengers,” said Bhatia..

28/06/21 Times of India

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