Festive demand has pushed up airfares by 20 per cent to 30 per cent on key routes across the country.

According to ixigo’s data, average airfares have risen by 20-30 per cent this year on popular routes due to the rise in ATF. EaseMyTrip has recorded a rise in airfares on metro routes around Durga Puja and Diwali. 

“With Dussehra and Durga Puja just around the corner, excitement for the festival season is at its peak. Flight searches have risen 25-30 per cent for leisure travel for Dussehra week compared to last year,” explained Aloke Bajpai, Group CEO & Co-founder of the IPO-bound OTA ixigo. Cleartrip’s data, too, showed that there has been an September has seen 23 per cent higher bookings than August. 

ixigo’s data showed that Patna, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Pune, Goa, Bagdogra and Dehradun are among the top 10 leisure destinations for tavel between October 01 and October 24.

The festival season, which usually starts around mid-September, including festivals like Durga Puja, Diwali and Christmas usually is the peak season for travellers in India. This travel includes both leisure travel as well as going-home travel.

Over the past two years, the festive cheer had vanished due to the looming fear of covid-19. Given that most of the eligible Indians have now taken their booster shots, and the impact of the virus is reducing, the customer confidence has gone up as well. 

This, backed by the uplifting of the airfare cap on August 31, has motivated airlines to make up for the lost profits over the past two years.

Indians are known to book their travel plans way in advance, however, post-Covid, this trend has changed. This has also made way for airlines to bump up the last minute airfare prices. Ixigo has forecasted that last-minute fares for popular routes will see a steep jump in airfares due to high travel demand. For example, one-way fares for routes like New Delhi to Patna which are normally around ₹5,000 are going as high as ₹8,000-13,000 on travel dates just before Diwali.

However, in order to not burn a deeper hole in its customers’ pockets, airfares between Durga Puja and after Diwali are seeing a dip. Along with this, airlines and OTAs are also offering flash sales and offers for its customers.

“There are sectors where prices have dropped and there are expensive fares too. Some softening in airfares for pre-Oct travel has been observed. The fares for the festive period esp Dussehra, Diwali, etc are continuing at elevated levels. This simply means that airlines are executing their pricing strategy very well which enables people to travel,” a Cleartrip spokesperson said. 

On the other hand, the customers too are becoming smarter, and the trend of booking in advance seems to be gradually coming back. 

“In the first 15 days of September, we have observed that an additional 10 per cent of people have booked 30 days in advance in September (for the first 15 days). This seems to be continuing as a trend since we have observed that there is a 2x spike in bookings for the December travel period. People booking in advance for 2023 has already increased by 140 per cent,” Cleartrip’s spokesperson added.

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