Domestic flight fares in India expected to shoot up after airlines resume services


Domestic flight fares in India expected to shoot up after airlines resume services

Due to the ongoing lockdown in India implemented to control COVID-19 crisis, all the buses, railways and airlines have been suspended. While the Ministry of Railways has shown the green flag to restart their passenger train services from May 12 in a phased manner, it is still uncertain as to when the flight services in India will resume operations.

It is expected that when the airlines restart their services, they will have to abide by social distancing norms by keeping every alternate seat vacant in passenger flights.
According to news reports, the airlines may not get the permit to accept bookings for the middle seats to keep safe distances between the travellers.

In addition, the last three rows will also have to be kept vacant in case a passenger needs to be quarantined in the middle of the flight. Given the current scenario of the airlines, to compensate for the financial loss, they would have to hike the fares.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation India (CAPA India) has estimated that the prices of significant trips can get doubled. So, as per the estimates, if the fare for a Delhi to Mumbai flight costed INR 5000 before the lockdown, it may cost INR 9700 after the lockdown is lifted. Likewise, a Delhi-Bengaluru flight may cost dearly by INR 11200 or so.

Domestic flight fares in India expected to shoot up after airlines resume services

The chargeable seats will remain small in number, and the operational cost of the flights including fuel rates, parking cost etc. will also remain the same. Reportedly, the turnaround time of the flights will also increase due to thorough flight cleaning and slower boarding processes after the lockdown, which is expected to cut down the revenue of the airlines.

CAPA reached out the prices by considering the load factor on a fight. A 180-seat narrow body aircraft can sell maximum 108 seats if social distancing norms are in place, representing a 60% load factor.

Already, the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi has announced that social-distancing norms will be implemented strictly after passenger flight services resume. Extra queue-managers will be deployed at the airports; there would be more check-in area seats and coloured-tape as well as markers to maintain queue-gap.

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