Bangaluru airport show to begin on Wednesday, fares from Mumbai soar to ₹27,318
As the Bengaluru airport has shut its runway partially for the air show from February 20 to 24, the ticket fares have gone up by at least three to five times.
The average fare for one-way travel from Mumbai to Bengaluru around this time of the year is ₹5,000. On Saturday, a ticket on a Mumbai-Bengaluru flight for Wednesday was available for around ₹27,000. The lowest fare available for Wednesday morning was a GoAir flight (6am) for ₹10,331 (without tax). A 6.30am flight on Jet Airways was available for ₹18,548. The fares for IndiGo’s 3.40pm flight, Jet Airways’ 4.55pm flight, and IndiGo and Spicejet’s 7.35pm flights were ₹22,000, ₹27,318, ₹16,999 and ₹18,717.
Barring red-eye (night) flights for ₹7,000, on Monday, a ticket to Bengaluru for a 5.30am flight cost ₹13,000, and touched ₹26,695 during peak hours.
The event at Kempegowda airport will showcase technologies and products of global and Indian aerospace and defence firms, with display of military and civil aircraft, including fighters, jets, helicopters and air weapons. Moreover, the Mumbai airport will remain shut on all Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays till March 30 (except March 21).
IndiGo has cancelled flights across the country, including in this sector, apart from curtailing 30 flights between the two cities till March-end owing to the runway repair work in Mumbai. Although the airline has cited poor weather and the air show as reasons, experts said as NOTAMs (notice to airmen issued to alert aircraft pilots of problems along a flight route or at a location) were issued well in advance, the flights should have been rescheduled. Sources said flights were being cancelled because of staff shortage.
While IndiGo did not respond to HT on Monday, a spokesperson on February 14 had said: “The operations will be normalised by the start of summer schedule, March 31, 2019. NOTAM in Bangalore caused additional flight cancellations, rescheduling for which was completed a month ago.”
Jitender Bhargava, former executive director of Air India, said, “The number of flights has been cut down because of the show. Also, a large number of people from across the globe are travelling to Bengaluru, adding pressure on the flights. The regulator should not allow curtailment of flights or rescheduling…Cancellation of flights by IndiGo could be another reason.”
Capt Mohan Ranganathan, an air safety expert, said. “The situation at IndiGo will worsen by April, as the airline pilots are resigning.”