National carrier Air India has slashed its fares by 25 to 45 per cent for Indian passengers stranded in the US and Canada under the Vande Bharat mission.
According to a report by the Economic Times, passengers booking an economy ticket for a New York-Delhi flight will now pay roughly around Rs 75,461. Earlier, Air India was charging more than Rs 1.07 lakh on the same route.
Similarly, a Toronto-Delhi economy class ticket of Air India flight is now for Rs 75,321 from the previous fare of Rs 1.37 lakh, the daily added.
According to the daily, the air tickets were costlier earlier due to parking costs. Initially, because of the new norms, an aircraft had to be parked in the US for as long as 40 hours.
Cross-subsidising of the Middle East flights is also another factor. Vande Bharat fares on flights to the Gulf were about 40-45 per cent cheaper than other charter flights. Earnings from the US and Canada flights were being used to cross-subsidise those flights. Additionally, passengers had also complained about the steep fares and booking glitches.
The Government of India launched Vande Bharat Mission on May 7 to evacuate stranded Indians from abroad. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, around 4.75 lakh Indians have been brought back under this mission till now.
Since May 7, Vande Bharat Mission has completed three phases. The fourth phase of the mission started from July 3 and will continue till July 15. Under Phase 4 of the Vande Bharat Mission, Air India will fly 114 flights while IndiGo and GoAir will operate 457 and 41 flights respectively.
Air India will operate 114 flights to India from 17 countries including Canada, the US, the UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Ukraine and Vietnam.