More airlines in India have started flying less to small town destinations because of a hurting financial crunch, triggered by high fuel costs and the global meltdown.
While Kingfisher Airlines’ low cost arm Kingfisher Red (formerly Air Deccan) has reduced frequencies to cities including Gwalior, Trichi, Bhopal and Indore, Jetlite, the low cost arm of Jet Airways, has chosen not to fly to destinations where Jet Airways is already operating.
“Operating to these routes is not profitable beyond a period of time and there is no point burning cash on these routes,” a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said. This year, airlines have suffered more than Rs 5,000 crore losses, and the figure is projected to go up to Rs 8,000 crore in 2008-09.
State-run Air India has also reduced frequencies on commercially unviable routes including Bangalore-Goa, Goa-Pune and Bangalore-Pune.
During the aviation boom, airlines had mapped their footprint in as many 82 cities.
A senior aviation official said airlines cannot pull out from any destination overnight but confirmed that they are flying less to towns with low passenger volume. Each airline has to fly about 20 per cent of its total flights to remote destinations, like those in northeast, Lakshadweep and J&K.