As flight slots go up, air fares could come down?

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 30, 2014 00:21 IST

Air passengers shuttling in and out of Mumbai had more than two dozen daily flights added to the winter schedule this year, compared to the same October-March cycle last year.

According to data from the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the number of domestic flight movement slots for take-off and landing at the city airport has increased to 570, from last winter’s 545. International slots however, saw a marginal increase, going from 200 to 202.

More flights mean a greater number of seats for passengers, and could translate to cheaper air fares, said aviation experts.

“Air fares are linked to demand and supply. Increase in flight options would increase supply and result in affordable fares,” said a senior executive with an aviation think tank, requesting anonymity.

Assuming that the A320 fleet is used to operate all the new flights, the seat stock for flights in and out of the city would increase by 4,500, almost on a daily basis.

“A chunk of the newly formed seats could be priced in the cheap fare bracket,” said an official of a private airline.

Air tickets are normally split in 10 to 12 price bands, and those booking in advance get the low fare tickets.
The national network saw an increase of 60 flights this winter cycle, compared to the schedule last year.

However, barring a few airlines, most domestic carriers have curtailed their respective schedules.

According to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, no-frills carrier Indigo Airlines and GoAir are operating a bulk of the newly added flights, at 25% and 12.6% respectively. New airlines such as AirAsia India have also contributed to the tally.

Loss-making budget airline SpiceJet and Air India’s low-cost subsidiary Alliance Air topped the list of airlines that cut down flights, at 16.2% and 13.9% respectively.

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