Go First’s temporary termination of operations has elevated airfares on its dominant routes. Some routes where Go First had a presence have seen a hike between 17 per cent and 43 per cent, whereas others have remained unchanged. Industry players have, however, simultaneously argued that the airfares remain elevated due to the peak summer travel as well.
Go First suspended operations on May 2 for three days, which has now been extended till May 15. Prior to its suspension, it operated on over 180 flights domestically and internationally daily.
It had a strong presence in routes such as Mumbai-Bangalore, Kolkata-Bangalore, Kolkata Ahmedabad, Delhi -Srinagar, Delhi - Leh, Mumbai-Goa and Delhi-Pune among others. According to data from ixigo, Kolkata-Bangalore witnessed a 36 per cent increase in airfares, Kolkata-Ahmedabad route saw a 17 per cent rise in airfares, Delhi-Srinagar route’s airfare has seen a spike of 18 per cent, Delhi-Leh was at 8 per cent, and Mumbai-Goa witnessed a 43 per cent spike.
“Go First flew around one million seats in April 2023 compared to 8.6 million by IndiGo. So, when almost 12 per cent of the total seat inventory leaves the market, you can be sure fares will rise, especially on routes where IndiGo’s only competition was Go First — around 10 city pairs such as Ahmedabad to Chandigarh for example,” said Mike Arnot, an industry expert and spokesman for Cirium, an airline analytics company.
Cirium’s data accessed businessline showed that at its peak too, Go First consistently has had low fares, comparable to Air India on domestic routes, and slightly lower in 2022 than IndiGo. These fares below are one way fares, non-directional, average fares, in US dollars, not including taxes and fees.
On the other hand, ixigo’s data also shows Delhi-Ahmedabad route has witnessed no change, Mumbai-Ahmedabad has seen a 33 per cent decline and airfares on Bengaluru-Mumbai have seen a seven per cent decline. Yatra.com hasn’t witnessed any particular rise in airfares due to flight cancellations of GoFirst.
“The peak summer travel season is here, and the fares are high by 30-40 per cent across sectors due to high demand,” the company said.
Additionally for individuals who had to rebook flight tickets because of GoFirst cancellations, may feel the fares are on the higher side, but this will primarily be due to last minute bookings, the spokesperson at Yatra explained.
Within the past month itself, the airline has cancelled 4,118 flights affecting 77,000 passengers. Cirium’s data showed that even at its peak Go First’s cancellations were high, at 3.3 per cent (though less than SpiceJet), but on-time performance was poor, at only 44.97 per cent of flights arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time.
A logical conclusion for approximately 180 daily flights over 15 days, Go First will cancel close to 3,000 flights.
Arnot believes that other airlines will make a swift move to fill the void. “Other carriers like Air Asia India and SpiceJet will step in to the routes if they believe IndiGo will react to raise fares on those routes,” he noted.
Even though in the short-term passengers may not witness a pinch, in the long run fewer options will affect flyers.