A year ago, Diwali dreams were grounded by the economic downturn. This time, the flights are taking off.
As many as 1,00,000 passengers are expected to jet across the nation in the coming weekend as the economy is rebounding while air travel is considered affordable again, industry officials say.
Airlines expect 75 to 80 per cent capacity in the Diwali weekend flights.
“Booking across airlines are up 35 per cent up compared with the same period last year because of lower airfares and a long weekend,” said Ankur Bhatia, executive director at the Bird Group, which provides technology and ticketing services to airlines.
“We have about 29,500 bookings for Thursday and 30,700 bookings for Friday from all over the country, this is about 4,000 passengers more than what we saw during Diwali last year,” an Air India spokesman said.
“Keeping the weekend rush in view we will also operate an additional A320 flight with a seat capacity of 144 between Mumbai and Delhi to meet the weekend rush,” the spokesperson said.
“We have very healthy passenger load for the coming weekend. Because of Diwali and a long weekend we have nearly 85 per cent of seats booked in all flights across the country,” said a Jet Airways spokesperson.
Jet offers about 30,000 seats per day and expects to fly 25,500 passengers at 85 per cent seat load factor on Friday.
Low cost carrier SpiceJet is looking at 80 per cent bookings on Friday for its 24,700 daily seat offers.