Leisure travel in India is taking a blow thanks to the series of flight cancellations in the peak season by troubled carrier Kingfisher Airlines,with tour operators claiming fares have gone up by as much as 100 per cent in the last few days.
“Domestic leisure travel is taking a backseat with cancellations pouring in … Fares on major metro routes on other carriers are up by 100 per cent,” Pearl International Tours & Travel (PITT) Executive Director Arjun Seth said.
He said it is not only leisure travellers but business flyers are also affected by the flight cancellations.
“Corporates are taking a wait and watch approach till normalcy is resumed and air fares see price adjustments. Non essential travel is being curtailed,” Seth said.
Expressing similar sentiments,STIC Group Travel Chairman Subhash Goyal said even on other routes air fares have gone up by 20 per cent to 40 per cent in the last week.
In a bid to provide relief to passengers,online travel sites have come up with offers.
“Yatra.com is offering a special markdown of Rs 500 on all revised booking of tickets through the company’s website and call centre,to its customers,” Yatra.com said.
Industry experts are of the view that the crisis-hit aviation sector needs serious redressal measures as it is impacting the overall travel sector.
“The trouble in aviation sector will have a spill over effect to all sectors connected to it — travel companies and hotels,” Seth said.
According to Goyal of STIC,a robust aviation policy is the need of the hour.
“In India air fuel charges are high,landing charges are high compared to other countries…the government should allow more foreign investment in the sector and give licences to more companies to operate in our skies. Only then the interest of the aviation sector can be safeguarded,” Goyal said.
What Kingfisher is going through is not a disease but these are symptoms of a serious problem being faced by the aviation sector today,he added.
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation CEO South Asia Kapil Kaul said things may improve for the travel industry after DGCA’s intervention following which Kingfisher is likely to soon come out with a stable flight schedule.