Airfares to soar as Kingfisher is set to cancel 200 flights from next week

Shishir Sinha Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on November 17, 2011

Other operators seen cashing in on holiday rush

Domestic airfares are set to go up further during the peak December holiday season, as troubled Kingfisher Airlines is set to axe nearly half its domestic schedule from next week.

Starting November 20, the Vijay Mallya-owned airline is cancelling nearly 200 daily flights from its current schedule. The resultant overflow from stranded passengers is expected to send fares climbing across the board, as operators cash in on the rush.

In a communication to aviation regulator Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the private airline has said that the drastically reduced schedule will remain in force till December 15. The current schedule of cancellations — amounting to over 30 flights a day — ends on November 19.

The airline has been permitted to operate 418 flights every day during the ongoing winter schedule. Documents accessed by Business Line confirmed that 202 flights are planned to be cancelled between November 20 and December 15. While most of the flights will be cancelled from November 20, a few cancellations start from November 22 and November 23.

Kingfisher officials claimed that the cancellation number was incorrect but failed to give a new number on the flights being operated. The DGCA has summoned senior officials of the airline on Saturday to explain the cancellations. The cash-strapped airline is also expected to discuss the future course of action. However, there is very little possibility of any action being taken against the airline.

“The airline has submitted a list of planned cancellation well in advance as is required by the rules. This largely prevents the DGCA from taking any penal action against the airline,” a person familiar with the development said. The rules stipulate that the airlines should give at least seven days notice to the regulator before making substantial alterations to or discontinuing any existing routes.

Officials said the planned cancellations could affect 11 lakh passengers during on going winter season. He did not rule out disturbance of flights beyond December 15. The airline's schedule has been disrupted since November 7 resulting in major inconvenience to passengers.

Daily cancellations have already prompted the industry to raise fares. Jet and SpiceJet have already admitted that fares during the first fortnight of November were at least 20 per cent higher than the previous month. Now, the rise could be much steeper, said an official. On the other hand, the aviation regulator has been maintaining that so long as airlines follow the tariff schedule submitted in the beginning of the month, it cannot interfere. “We are monitoring the fare,” the DGCA Chief, Mr Bharat Bhushan, told reporters on the sidelines of the aviation summit in the Capital.


Published on November 17, 2011
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