Union min Hardeep Singh Puri asks airlines to rein in soaring ticket fares
The Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Twitter, “Hon’ble Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Hardeep Singh Puri has asked all the airlines to rein in the surging air fares for pilgrims returning from Amarnath dham.”Updated: Aug 04, 2019, 03:33 IST
Minister for civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri asked airlines on Saturday to rein in surging airfares, a day after the Jammu and Kashmir government issued an advisory restricting the annual Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage, and asking pilgrims and tourists to leave the Valley citing security concerns.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Twitter, “Hon’ble Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Hardeep Singh Puri has asked all the airlines to rein in the surging air fares for pilgrims returning from Amarnath dham.”
On Saturday, airfares from Srinagar, the capital city, saw a sharp hike of up to four times the usual rate, as several rushed to leave the state. For instance, while the airfare in the Delhi- Srinagar sector usually costs anywhere between ₹4000-6000, air tickets on Saturday went all the way up to ₹27,825. On Make My Trip, a booking portal, the fares reflected between ₹16,000 to ₹18,000 for non-stop flights. Airlines sources said that only 10-15% seats were left due to heavy demand. On other sites such as Cleartrip and Yatra, Srinagar-Delhi flights were priced between ₹15,000 and ₹20,000.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation asked airlines to deploy additional flights to and from Srinagar if needed, an official of the regulatory body said.
An Airports Authority of India spokesperson said that of the 6,216 passengers who flew out of the Srinagar International Airport on Saturday, “387 passengers were accommodated in four IAF aircraft and flown to various destination like Jammu, Pathankot and Hindon.”
Airports in Jammu and Kashmir are on high alert with Independence Day coming up.
“Following the recent travel advisory issued by the J&K govt., we have seen an increase of 20-25% in average airfares for flights to and from Srinagar across sectors. We anticipate the current unrest will lead to a further decrease in travel bookings in the coming weeks,” said Rajnish Kumar, Co-founder, ixigo.
“The recent announcement of the Amarnath Yatra being called off due to terror threats is unfortunate. We are in constant touch with all our guests who are there at this point, and are working closely with our local partners to ensure their safety,” said Sharat Dhall, chief operating office (B2C), Yatra.com.
Expecting large number or cancellations, many airlines also announced waiver of charges.
“In view of the current security situation in Srinagar, we are providing a full fee waiver on cancellation/rescheduling for all flights to/from Srinagar till August 9,” IndiGo airlines stated.
“The national carrier has decided to give a full fee waiver on rescheduling/cancellation for all Air India flights to/from Srinagar till August 15,” a an Air India spokesperson said.
(With inputs from agencies)