The festival rush, coupled with the absence of Kingfisher flights, has pushed up airfares dramatically across India. On Saturday, last-minute fares in sectors that see a heavy Dussehra demand were up to 375 per cent higher than usual.
“Fares are normally high in the festive season but the increase this year is huge as Kingfisher is not operating any flights,” Shabina Chopra, co-founder of yatra.com, India’s second largest online travel portal, said.
Until November 2011, Kingfisher was the country’s second largest carrier in terms of passengers flown. It had a market share of 20 per cent and, with 69 aircraft, operated over 400 flights a day.
Chopra said non-metro routes had seen the largest increases in fares. “Metro routes have been affected less. The increase is mainly in routes connecting tier 2 cities.” On Saturday, fares from Delhi to Patna, Lucknow and Guwahati were unusually high. Mumbai-Bangalore tickets sold for around double the usual last-minute price.
A senior airline official said around 2,30,000 domestic seats are currently on offer daily, and fares move according to an automated bucket system, rising with demand. For the last four months, Kingfisher has been offering barely 7,000 seats every day.