BOTH international and domestic airfares have spiked over the last three weeks due to rising fuel costs and the depreciation of the rupee.
Sharat Dhall, president of Yatra.com, commented: “There are multiple factors at play in this significant increase in airfares, ranging 15-25 per cent, across sectors.
“The effect of the depreciating rupee, the hike in aviation turbine fuel prices and significant pre-bookings via promotions have all led to a sudden rise in airfares this time.”
Prices on popular routes such as Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai and Colombo have seen a marked increase of 40 per cent on average for Indian carriers serving these destinations.
Manoj Saraf, managing director of Gainwell Travel & Leisure, commented: “Coupled with the low exchange value of the Indian rupee, which renders all prices quoted in US dollars more expensive, an average hike of 18 per cent in overseas sector fares was seen in the last six weeks.
“Thus the overall (financial) burden of an overseas trip has become unbearable for many travellers and forced them to either cancel or shorten the duration of their trips.”
Expensive fares to foreign destinations have triggered a spike in domestic fares as well, especially ahead of the high season before the Deepavali holidays. According to NDTV Profit reports, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways have raised fares by about 25 per cent, following a 6.9 per cent rise fuel prices.
High fares have obliterated the distinction between full-service carriers and LCCs, with fares for the Kolkata-Mumbai sector priced similarly for IndiGo and Jet Airways.
Airlines are also allowing drastic price differences between tickets bought one to six days and seven to 13 days in advance.
Anil Punjabi, chairman-east, Travel Agents Federation of India, remarked: “The 30-day advance fares should have been kept intact as that would have avoided the sudden fall in flight bookings. Airfares need to be rationally priced for long-term sustainability.”