Employees and experts say that an ongoing war and a pandemic-hit economy are major factors for the price hike in flight tickets.
If you booked a flight ticket in the past few months, you will know the suffering that your bank account has been through. However, this weight on your pocket is not going to lighten anytime soon.
Domestic air ticket prices have increased drastically since the past two months.
Rishabh Rathore, a student, said that he booked an air ticket from Bengaluru to Delhi a month back. He said, “I booked it a month back, even then it cost me around Rs 7000. It is from one metro city to another even then the prices are so high.” Rathore added that the prices were the same for the entire months of April and May.
Kapil Laxman, senior sales executive at IndiGo said that the past two-three years have been tough for the airline industry. It was only recently that the company showed some profit.
He added that IndiGo flew around 1500 flights a day in November 2021 “After Omicron, the flights came down to 900. So, the hike is helping to recover losses.”
Jitendra Saini, founder AeroNuts and an aeronautical engineer, said that this happens due to the high demand for domestic tickets in the market. He said that when demand was low, airlines cut fares but now people are opting to travel more.
Saini said that a bigger concern is fuel. Airlines mostly use kerosene, known as Jet A-1 or Airline Turbine Fuel (ATF) which is expensive. He added that this ATF price forms a quarter of an airline’s operational costs. “The price now is Rs 112.9 per litre which has increased from January. The one major reason for such a surge is the war going on in Ukraine.”
Soyenthung Khuvung, an engineer at IndiGo Airlines, said that for a long time most international routes were blocked so domestic flights became one way for airlines to battle losses. “Even now with international and national routes reopening for operations, it’s not the same as before. With a financial tragedy like this, now the airlines have difficult targets to attain, ” he said.
Khuvung added that many airlines have partnered, merged, or gone bankrupt. So, the incentive to create low fares to win business has mostly disappeared. He said that this has been taken as an opportunity for some, so new players will enter the industry making it tough for the present airlines.
Another significant reason for high prices is the increased airline taxes and security fees, said Khuvung. “By increasing taxes, the government itself is adding to the problem. This tax increase in turn adds to a lot of base fare.”
Meghna Bose, ex-employee of Jet Airways said that the complete shutdown of travel is one of the reasons for the air ticket price hike. It became difficult for airlines to cope with the losses as there were multiple expenses to handle like parking of aircrafts, salaries of employees, and more.
Bose said that now airlines are skeptical about people willing to travel again. “They fear that another wave might come, so at the moment they are trying to make as much profit as they can.”
A recent report said that the aviation industry has touched around four lakh passengers as of April 17, 2022.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had imposed a fare cap for 15 days due to the pandemic. Now, the government may control this fare hike on the sale of flight tickets for the last time. This is a result of the airline companies urging to remove the fare limit from Ministry’s end.
Alok Singh, aviation analyst, said that India meets it’s major oil requirements through imports. He said, “Due to the ongoing war and elevated crude oil prices, it was a clear indication that airlines will increase their fare prices.” He added that most airlines are talking to the ministry regarding this hike. “There might be a solution in coming three four months but for now, the hike will continue.”