Haven’t booked your air tickets for year-end travel yet? Now is the time to make the plan quickly.

According to online travel portals and tour operators, air fares have already shot up by 25 per cent for year-end travel and are expected to move up steeply in the next four to five days.

“If you book the tickets today, the jump in air fares now is around 15 to 20 per cent for year-end domestic travel. However, in the next four days it is expected to reach the pre-Diwali levels when air fares had shot up by 70 per cent,” said Sanjay Bhasin, Managing Director, Goibibo.

For instance, a Delhi-Goa return fare has already crossed Rs 21,000 for the year-end, which normally is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 16,000. The sectors that have seen high air fares are Goa, Kochi, Jaipur and Srinagar.

Kingfisher Airlines shutting down operations, rupee depreciation, hike in aviation turbine fuel prices and introduction of additional user fees levied by airports, have all resulted in air fares going up by almost 40 per cent this year, say travel operators. Due to this the number of domestic flyers dropped by about 13 per cent in October, as compared to the same period last year, according to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data.

Industry players say that November is likely to see a 15 per cent fall in flyers due to the surging domestic air fares.

Short-haul destinations in Southeast Asia have gained the most from this situation.

“Due to high domestic fares, travellers are now looking at international destinations for holidaying. We have witnessed 30 per cent growth in our international holiday business,” said Pratik Mazumder, Head of Marketing and Strategic Alliance at Yatra.com.

However, airfares in Southeast Asian countries and short-haul destinations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve weekend have also gone up significantly. For instance, a return fare from Singapore for the year-end travel is around Rs 36,000, which normally is between Rs 22,000 and Rs 24,000.

Similarly, a return fare to Dubai, if booked now, will be Rs 25,000 (normal fares are between Rs 16,000 and Rs 18,000).

nivedita.ganguly@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 7, 2012)
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