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Posted at: Mar 15, 2019, 7:00 AM; last updated: Mar 15, 2019, 10:10 AM (IST)

Last-minute airfares up 100%

Unprecedented number of planes grounded, reduction in seats
Last-minute airfares up 100%

New Delhi/Mumbai, March 14

Air passengers face the grim prospects of high airfares and fewer flight choices as several airlines cancel operations due to a number of reasons, including the grounding of 737-MAX aircraft.

According to industry insiders, some sectors have shown a rise of more than 100 per cent in last-minute bookings.

“With an unprecedented number of planes now grounded due to various factors, reduction in seat capacity has led to an increase in fares overnight. Last-minute airfares on Wednesday increased to more than 100 per cent on some key routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Mumbai-Kolkata and Mumbai-Bengaluru as compared to same time last year,” said Aloke Bajapi, CEO and co-founder, ixigo.

“Spot fares for Mumbai-Chennai are touching Rs 26,073 as opposed to Rs 5,369 the same time last year. High airfare patterns are expected to continue in the short term with Holi and summer school holidays round the corner, resulting in an increased demand.” Operations of airlines like SpiceJet and Jet Airways have been hit due to the government’s decision to join a global grounding of 737-MAX aircraft following a crash in Ethiopia.

In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate 17 Boeing 737-MAX aircraft: Spice (12) and Jet (5). A part of Jet fleet has already been grounded due to other reasons. Apart from SpiceJet, Jet Airways, which faces financial challenges, has already grounded four more aircraft over non-repayment of dues to lessors, taking the total to 32.

The company in BSE filings has said its 19 aircraft were grounded in February over non-repayment of dues to lessors, while 13 aircraft were grounded this month, taking the total to 32. The Jet Airways Group operates a fleet of 123 aircraft.

However, around 50 planes are said to be non-operational due to a host of reasons, including lack of spare parts.

IndiGo faces massive turbulence of pilot shortage, leading to truncated flight schedules. Earlier, the airline said 30 of its flights which have been affected represent only 2 per cent of its network. It has decided to curtail its schedule till March 31, by about 30 flights a day.

For sometime now, Air India has grounded 17 aircraft due to technical reasons.

On Wednesday, the government had advised domestic airlines not to go in for predatory airfare pricing as several 737-MAX aircraft were grounded due to safety reasons. — IANS


  • Rs 26,073 is the present spot fare for Mumbai-Chennai
  • Rs 5,369 is the fare on the route the same time last year
  • 17 Boeing 737-MAX aircraft SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate; both airlines hit after the government’s decision 
  • Air India has grounded 17 aircraft due to technical reasons

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