Amid a tragic train accident in Odisha that has claimed more than 288 lives and left more than 1,000 passengers injured, travelers are now battling with exuberant airfares. Airfares for frequented routes including from Delhi, Hyderabad, and Kolkata among others to Bhubaneshwar have shot up by at least 2x to 5x. This comes even as the Civil Aviation Ministry has asked airlines to monitor airfares.

On Saturday, MoCA had issued an advisory to airlines to monitor any abnormal surge in airfares to and from Bhubaneswar.

Despite this, a quick search for a flight on Tuesday between Delhi-Bhubaneshwar showed airfares ranging from ₹23,000 to ₹26,000. According to historical airfare data. The least expensive flights for similar trips to Bhubaneswar usually cost between ₹4,800–7,800. For the same date, a flight from Lucknow would cost travelers an average of ₹16,700. The least expensive flights for similar trips to Bhubaneswar usually cost between ₹4,200–6,900. 

Also read: What is KAVACH? Could it have prevented the Odisha train tragedy?

Similarly, flights between Kolkata and Odisha have zoomed to anywhere between ₹8,000 to ₹11,600. The cheapest flights for similar trips to Bhubaneswar usually cost between ₹3,650–5,300. 

On the other hand, prices for flights from Mumbai and Pune remain typical.

Tight check

On Monday, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation, during a meeting with the Airlines Advisory Group, addressed the issue of airfares. He expressed concern about recent reports of unusually high surge pricing on specific air routes.

“Airlines must self-monitor airfares on certain select routes that have seen considerable surge pricing of late, particularly those that were earlier being serviced by Go First - a mechanism for ensuring reasonable pricing within the high RBDs (Reservation Booking Designator) may be devised by airlines. This shall be monitored by the DGCA,” he said. 

Adding that especially during any calamity, airlines must keep a tight check on the pricing of airfares in view of the “humanitarian situation and monitor and control any surge in ticket prices to/from that region.”

He further urged and advised the airlines that in case of the unfortunate Odisha tragedy, “to provide free carriage (cargo) services to the families of the deceased.”