Tickets for domestic flights in and out of Mumbai are likely get dearer this summer. The summer schedule approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has reduced the number of flights permitted to land and take-off at the city airport by more than 20.
According to the flight schedule for the period between March 27 and October 31, there will be 697 flight operations out of the city airport daily, compared to 720 flights movements allowed in the winter schedule that lapsed on March 26.
Travel experts claim the reduction of 23 flights would mean a shortage of at least 2,000 passenger seats, leading to a spike in fares. “Prices will hurt flyers, especially those travelling in summer. Already, the fares on busy metro routes such as Mumbai-Delhi are up by 20%,” said Iqbal Mulla, president of the Travel Agents Association of India.
One-way spot fares on the Mumbai-Delhi route cost up to Rs12,000 compared to Rs9,000 till a few months ago. An increase in the price of crude oil by more than $100 per barrel coupled with the depreciating Rupee have already hit foreign vacation plans, added tour operators.
DGCA sources blamed the downsizing by Kingfisher Airlines for the reduction in flight slots. As compared to the winter schedule (October 2011 to March 2012), where the airline had more than 50 flights out of Mumbai, it now has only 24 daily flights.