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Domestic air travel to cost more from October 9 Jet, Sahara announce 10 pc hike

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Oct. 6

DOMESTIC air travel will cost more from October 9. While the two main players Jet Airways and Air Sahara have announced a 10 per cent across-the-board hike in their fares from October 14, the low-cost airline Spice Jet has announced a "temporary fuel surcharge" varying from Rs 200 to Rs 400 on bookings made from October 9.

The State-owned Indian Airlines would also be hiking fares with an official announcement expected within the next few days.

This is the second successive upward movement in domestic airfares.

The domestic aviation industry had raised fares by 12 per cent in April this year.

In a statement, Jet Airways has said that apart from an increase in the normal economy and business class fares, there will be a proportionate increase in other fare levels such as promotional, excursion and check fares.

"Tickets issued on or reissued on or after October 14 will be at the revised fare irrespective of the dates of travel. Confirmed tickets issued on or before October 13 will be honoured for travel at the pre-revised fares for the ticketed itinerary only," the airline said.

The low-cost airline Air Deccan, new start-up Paramount Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have also announced their intention to raise fares this month.

"There will be a hike of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent in the higher category of fares.

"The lower level fares will not be touched," said the Managing Director of Air Deccan, Captain G.R. Gopinath.

The airline will continue to offer passengers the Re 1 and Rs 500 tickets that will not be affected by the fare hike.

"A fare increase is inevitable. We will announce it by next weekend," said the Managing Director of Paramount Airways, Mr M. Thiagarajan. Echoing almost similar sentiments, the Chief Operating Officer, Kingfisher Airlines, Mr Nigel Harwood said, "We are analysing the fares. We review them daily."

The spiralling cost of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), the price of which went up by more than Rs 1,700 per kilolitre this month compared to September has forced the airlines to hike fares.

While the airlines were paying about Rs 36,700 per kilolitre in September this year, the price peaked at Rs 38,400 this month.

ATF accounts for between 30 per cent and 35 per cent of the operating cost of most major airlines.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 7, 2005)
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