Aviation fuel has got cheaper by 2.5 per cent, but domestic airlines still plan to hike fares by Rs 150 this winter. They plan to levy a ‘traffic congestion surcharge’ to minimise losses from “the constant air congestion at major airports”, said airline officials.
Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet have all announced their decision to impose the surcharge from December 1. Other carriers like Air Deccan are expected to follow soon. This extra charge is in addition to the Rs 750 fuel surcharge and the Rs 300 airport tax.
A Jet spokesperson said: “The surcharge for tickets within India comes into effect from December 1, and for sales outside from December 5. We are not announcing any downward revision in the fuel surcharge as the drop in fuel cost is minimal.”
SpiceJet director Ajay Singh added: “Congestion affects every airline equally. In addition, flight movements at Delhi and Mumbai cause an additional burden of 15 per cent due to the excess burning of fuel.”
Indian so far has not decided on any surcharge, but is considering it, said a spokesperson. Go Air, too, while admitting to constant fuel burn due to congestion, has called for relevant data before taking a decision.
The average flight delay is 30 minutes to one hour, causing substantial losses to airlines. Flight delays are expected to worsen after fog sets in at Delhi and other airports during winter. Jet, for instance, blamed its Rs 27 crore loss in July-September on congestion.