Air fares have started rising as several airlines such as SpiceJet, IndiGo and Jet Airways face disruption in flight operations due to a number of reasons, including the grounding of 737-MAX aircraft.
Air fares for last minute bookings have risen more than 100 per cent, according to reports.
"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," Aloke Bajapi, CEO and co-founder, ixigo told IANS.
"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.
The airline had cancelled 14 flights on Wednesday following the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft by the Indian aviation watchdog DGCA.
The DGCA on Tuesday had announced its decision to "immediately" ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft by airlines operating in India. The order came following the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that claimed 157 lives, including 4 Indians. Meanwhile, Jet Airways share has grounded four more aircraft, taking the number to 32 which is more than a fourth of its fleet due to non-payment of dues.
Till date, 32 Jet aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of lease rentals. Economy carrier IndiGo has been hit by pilot shortage, leading to truncated flight schedule. The airline has said that 30 of its flights which have been affected by the shortage represent only 2 per cent of its network.
It has decided to curtail its schedule till March 31, by about 30 flights a day. "As a proactive measure, IndiGo has decided to continue its curtailment until the end of March. This measure has already been implemented and passengers informed," the airline said in a statement.
"These medium term cancellations have been made to minimise the impact on passengers as alternative travel options have been offered well in advance. The operations will be normalised by the start of the summer schedule."
Edited by Aseem Thapliyal