As many as 65 IndiGo and GoAir flights were cancelled on Tuesday after the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded 14 of their A320 Neo aircraft. The highest fare for a Delhi-bound flight from Mumbai on Tuesday cost three times the regular airfare. Regular fliers have complained against inconvenience caused due to the flight cancellations and the sudden jump in airfares. On Monday, the air regulator grounded 14 A320 Neo planes of IndiGo and GoAir for faulty Pratt and Whitney engines. This led to cancellation of 65 flights of the airlines on Tuesday. While the budget carrier IndiGo, whose 11 planes were grounded, cancelled 47 flights on Tuesday, GoAir cancelled 18 flights across eight cities after three of their planes were grounded.
An A320 Neo plane has a capacity of carrying 187 passengers. Airport officials said that while six IndiGo flights originating from or returning to Mumbai were cancelled, two of them operated between Mumbai and Delhi. “Following the grounding of our A320 Neo planes in accordance with the DGCA directive, we cancelled less than 5 per cent of our flights today. To minimise inconvenience of our customers, our teams swiftly accommodated passengers on alternative flights and fully refunded those who preferred to cancel their tickets. Our future schedules have been adjusted and passengers informed accordingly,” an official statement from IndiGo airline read.
On Tuesday, the highest one-way fare on Mumbai-Delhi route was Rs 14,245 while the lowest fare was Rs 5,032. According to the details provided by popular travel booking website Yatra, the highest fare for a trip between the two cities would be Rs 28,911 for March 14 as compared to the lowest fare of Rs 9,112. “The DGCA decision to ground 14 A320 Neo aircraft of IndiGo and GoAir and the consequent cancellation of flights has resulted in a fairly significant impact on airfares for immediate travel on some key routes. We have seen fares of over Rs 12,000 for a one-way Delhi-Mumbai flight for today. With current load factors at over 90 per cent, this reduction in capacity is likely to have a 5-10 per cent impact on fares on key routes in the short to medium term,” said Sharat Dhall, COO(B2C), Yatra.
GoAir has cancelled 18 flights originating from eight cities in the country. None of the flights to or from Mumbai have been affected. “GoAir cancelled 18 flights originating from over eight cities. GoAir has complied with the DGCA directive by grounding all late serial number PW GTF engines. This has resulted in the cancellation of some flights originating out of eight centres. Flight schedules are being altered to accommodate those affected. Alternative arrangements are being made or offered to minimise the impact and inconvenience caused. In cases where appropriate, free cancellation and re-booking options have been made available,” an official statement from Go Air read.
IndiGo carries about 40 per cent of domestic flyers, while GoAir has a market share of around ten per cent. Fliers complained against having to change their travel schedules following the flight cancellations. “I am supposed to fly to Delhi from Mumbai on Wednesday. Though no official confirmation about the flight cancellation has been communicated to me by the airline, I am positive about booking another air ticket to Delhi. It is a pity that even during such times, the rates have skyrocketed, causing problems to passengers,” Rajni Shetty, a frequent flier said. “I have booked a train ticket to Delhi on the Rajdhani Express for tomorrow. As my going is urgent, I cannot afford to wait till my flight ticket gets cancelled,” entrepreneur Raj Guru from Mumbai said. Travel portals including Make My Trip said they are working closely with airlines for rescheduling and accommodating existing bookings to minimise the impact on customers.