Indian airlines have slashed last-minute fares by half on the Delhi-Kathmandu sector and mounted additional relief flights to aid evacuation of stranded travellers in Nepal in the aftermath of the worst earthquake the country has seen in 80 years.
Air India has reduced the one-way fare between Delhi/Kolkata/Varanasi and Kathmandu from `14,000 to `4,700 inclusive of all taxes. Private carriers too have capped upper limit of fares on the Delhi-Kathmandu route to check unrealistic price increases in times of crisis.
A source in SpiceJet said, “Spot fares on an average range between `12,000-`18,000 on the route. Internally, the upper limit has been capped and fares reduced to aid evacuation efforts.”
“There seems to have been a conscious attempt on part of airlines to keep in check last minute fares in the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal. All Indian airlines are offering return tickets in the range of `12,500-`13,000 in the Delhi-Kathmandu sector and the ticket prices tomorrow are the same as those available even a month later”, confirmed Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com.
Inquiries have also started filtering in for charter services from travellers stranded in Nepal. “Inquiries are coming in. Its a three hour sorty to Kathmandu back and forth. Operators are charging normal. The rates are Rs 1.5 lakh for a six-seater jet and Rs 2.8 lakh for a larger aircraft”, said an executive in the general aviation industry who did not want to be identified.
In the meantime, Air India and no-frills carrier SpiceJet have mounted special relief flights to Kathmandu. Air India has announced the operation of four additional Airbus flights to and from Kathmandu on Monday. Indigo has a jet on standby to carry relief materials to Kathmandu free of charge.
SpiceJet, too, will operate a relief flight on New Delhi-Kathmandu-New Delhi sector starting from Sunday night till Tuesday. “SpiceJet operating special relief flights DEL-KTM-DEL tonight, tomo and Tue,” SpiceJet’s COO Sanjiv Kapoor tweeted.