As Kingfisher Airlines continued to cancel flights for the fifth consecutive day, spot airfares for travel out of Mumbai shot up, adding to passengers’ woes.
With the airlines cancelling 15 flights out of the city on Wednesday, the reduction in flights saw spot airfares for Thursday double. A one-way spot fare for an economy class ticket from Mumbai to Bangalore for Thursday was available for Rs20,000, opposed to the usual Rs 8000-Rs 9000.
Although the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had on Tuesday asked Kingfisher to publish a new ‘realistic’ flight schedule on its website within 24 hours, until late on Wednesday evening, the airlines was yet to upload the schedule. A Kingfisher spokesperson did not comment on why it failed to release the schedule and the number of flights it had decided to cut down on from Mumbai.
However, sources at the Mumbai airport said that the 15-odd flights that the airline has consistently cancelled over the past five days were unlikely to feature in the new list. “The airline does not have the resources to operate these flights,” said a senior airport official requesting anonymity.
This would mean an approximate 1,500 passenger seats less. “The reduction in flights would have a direct impact on fares,” said Jay Bhatia, western region chairman of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).
This is the second time the airline is downsizing its flight schedule in four months. Last November, it had cut down at least 11 flights from its Mumbai network, triggering a steep price hike.
DGCA sources said according to a list submitted by the airline on Wednesday, its national network of daily flights has been reduced to 175, from 240.