Thursday, October 28, 2021

Air fares to Singapore, Malaysia remain pricey

Chennai: Air fares from Chennai to Singapore and Malaysia are several-fold higher than pre-Covid rates at a time when the travel sector is inching back to normalcy.

The two countries relaxed norms recently so that people who have permanent residency permits, workers and others can start travelling. One-way fare on direct flights is Rs 25,000 to Rs 27,000 to Singapore while it is Rs 26,000 to Kuala Lumpur for travel in November.

The fare is higher for travelling via Colombo or Dubai but many are not travelling via transit hubs because of ever-changing restrictions. The fare is high because the government is yet to permit more flights on the route and continues to run 'air bubble' flights operated by Air India Express or Air India.

Airport sources said that foreign carriers, which used to have one or two flights per day from Chennai in the preCovid-19 days, are unlikely to resume flights till end of December unless the government fully allows scheduled services. Fewer flights and high fares have troubled those who are flying on business, jobs and on permanent residency visas and those who have a second home. Travel and tour operators are hoping that Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand will soon permit leisure travellers.

Singapore has allowed transit passengers but people are not able to use it because there is only one flight from Chennai. S Baskar from Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) said fares would reduce only if commercial flights resume operations. Some travel agents expect southeast Asian countries to allow leisure travellers by next month.

28/10/21 Times of India

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