MUMBAI: Even as domestic airfares have come under the civil aviation ministry’s scrutiny over a steep rise, a study by a travel portal showed that air travel this summer was cheaper compared to last year. In a report released on Tuesday, Makemytrip compared airfares on busy domestic and international routes for the peak summer travel period of April to June for this year and 2015.
According to the report, while average domestic fares on certain routes fell by 35%, leisure travellers spent up to 16% less on flight tickets for foreign destinations. A one-way economy class ticket from Mumbai to New York in May was available for Rs60,538, around Rs22,000 cheaper over the same period last year.
The fare difference on lean domestic routes such as the Mumbai-Leh sector also saw a significant fall from Rs17,993 to Rs11,935 for a trip booked in June, the report said.
The report attributed the drop in fares to frequent flash sales by airlines and the addition of new flights. “Domestic market continues to grow at a very healthy rate and attractive sales by airlines have further energised travel to domestic and foreign destinations. While the Delhi-London and Mumbai-New York average fare in June 2016 saw a drop of 16%, the reduction in fares helped to create new demand for air travel on these routes,” said Diwakar Pareek, vice-president (online revenue) with Makemytrip. “With IndiGo, Vistara adding more flights and resurrection of SpiceJet in the domestic market, we are seeing positive passenger movement and have seen airfares stabilise in the April-June quarter vis-à-vis last year.
International airlines are also offering attractive discounts and adding more seats on key international routes. With a heavy advance purchase for the summer vacation period and the upcoming travel season, we expect the overall numbers to maintain the robust growth.”
Despite concer ns over a spike in airfares, a report by the aviation safety regulator showed that domestic tickets sold in the highest price bracket in April accounted for just about 2%. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked airlines to submit a ratio of its steepest tickets and its revenue share from their sales.