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Only IndiGo, Go Air plan to add more services this summer

Shishir Sinha
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Increase of 48 flights a week not enough to lower ticket costs for flyers

More flights are on cards for travellers this summer, but it is unlikely to lower domestic flyers’ ticket costs as the increase is just 48 flights a week more than what airlines operated during their winter schedule.

Domestic airlines will operate 11,934 weekly flights between early April and end-October, as against 11,886 weekly services during the winter months, an increase of just one per cent, according to data collated by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation.

It is also a marginal 3.4 per cent increase over the 11,541 weekly flights during the same period last year. In fact, low cost carriers IndiGo and Go Air are the only ones planning to add more flights to their weekly schedule, and other carriers have proposed to lower the number of flights for the holiday season, a senior DGCA official told Business Line.

In all, airlines will connect 75 airports this season, similar to what it was last year.

Kingfisher out, AirAsia in

Globally, the period from early April to end-October is known as the summer schedule for airline operations, while the period from early November to end-March is known as the winter schedule.

The two schedules give airlines a chance to adjust capacity to meet the demands of the market and remain profitable.

The number of services this year is a fry cry from what it was just two years ago, when domestic airlines operated 13,000 weekly flights, largely on account of Kingfisher Airlines, which ceased to operate from October 2012.

The airline, which operated around 2,000 weekly flights, went under after incurring a debt burden of over Rs 7,000 crore.

But the good news for flyers is that the entry of AirAsia India, a three-way joint venture between Malaysian low cost airline AirAsia, Tata Sons and Telstra’s Arun Bhatia, is expected to add at least 50 flights a week initially.

The new venture is likely to start operations by the end of this month of in the first half of April with 2 aircraft.

(This article was published on March 18, 2014)
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