KUSHINAGAR: There may soon be some relief from steep international airfares. Aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal on Wednesday said that India will be “happy to add frequencies under air bubbles formed with other countries on a need basis.”
Scheduled international flights are suspended since last March and since then international connectivity is being provided under Vande Bharat flights and air bubbles with about 30 countries.
The mismatch in demand and supply, especially with travel restrictions lifting post the second wave, is leading to a surge in fares during the coming winter months.
“We are willing to add more frequencies that will lead to more competitive fares. However, generally speaking international fares are usually not very high (with bookings yet to pick up). According to Air India, advance bookings during the (period starting) mid-December is in the range of 40%,” Bansal said.
To be sure, international travel is a bilateral issue whose modalities are decided by two countries mutually. India unilaterally will not decide on fully reopening its skies as the same has to be reciprocated by other countries.
But travellers — with most doing so out of dire necessity — are suffering. What used to be return fare in pre-pandemic times is now not even one-way fares on several routes like India-Canada and India-UK on peak demand days.
“When travel with UK resumed, fare skyrocketed. Flights were later on increased between India and UK and till that announcement was made, hundreds of people bought tickets at prohibitive rate. If India is planning to add more capacity by whatever route it deems fit like more frequency under bubbles, the announcement should be made fast so that airlines ave more inventory to sell and fares fall,” said a leading travel agent who did not want to be named.
India had allowed foreign tourists to fly in from charters starting October 15 and then on non-charter from November 15. So far no charter with tourists has flown into the country, say officials. Travel agents have started getting queries for tourist charters for one place — Goa. “We are going to launch a campaign to attract foreign tourists very soon,” said tourism secretary Arvind Singh.
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-in/finance/topstories/international-airfare-relief-in-sight-india-open-to-adding-more-frequencies-under-air-bubbles-on-need-basis/ar-AAPM27E369