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A Spoiler for Summer Holiday Plans

by Staff
PUNE: Soaring domestic airfares, particularly to destinations in north India, are turning out to be summertime-blues for holidayers this year.

Travel firms TOI spoke to were of the view that the increase in the travel fare in the past few days was significant, compelling many vacationers to alter their preferred destinations to accommodate budgets.

Rishikesh Pujari, owner of Vihar Travels, said, “Airfares to Delhi and Chandigarh have recently surged by 1.5-2 times. A Pune to Delhi flight ticket now exceeds Rs6,000, compared to Rs2,500-3,000 during the same period last year. This spike is disrupting summer vacation travel plans”.

People typically choose to travel to north India during April-May, as the southern states experience warmer weather during the months. He said, “Delhi serves as the primary hub airport, from where travellers connect to other destinations in the north. The one-way airfare per person from Pune to Leh, has also surged to approximately Rs23,000, compared to last summer’s Rs10,000-12,000.”

He said, “Since there are no direct flights to Leh from Pune, this cost includes the fare for connecting flights from New Delhi to Leh.”

Land packages are often more economical than airfares for Leh. Pujari said, “For instance, a stay package in Leh costs about Rs35,000, whereas the return airfare is over Rs40,000 per person. This makes the land package more affordable than air travel. Similar price hikes have been observed on the Pune-Srinagar route. Airfares for a return trip on this route have escalated to approximately Rs 30,000 per person, compared to around Rs 18,000 previously. This price of Rs 30,000 could secure a ticket to certain international destinations,” he said.

Pujari said that tour companies have written to the ministry of tourism highlighting the high airfares to Leh, which could deter people from visiting the destination.

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Pawan Sachdeva, director of Pacific Travels, said, “There has been a spike in airfares for Pune to Chandigarh and Pune to Delhi. For instance, a Pune to Delhi return trip fare is costing around Rs11,500 per person, up from Rs8,500-9,000 in January this year. Similarly, a Pune Chandigarh return fare per person is currently around Rs27,000 as against the earlier Rs16,000-18,000. Fares to north India are specifically showing a surge.”

He said people were increasingly choosing to travel to Dubai from Mumbai, instead of opting for a direct flight from Pune, citing significant delays by SpiceJet on the Pune route.

“Summer travel enquiries for four sectors – Dubai, Bali-Indonesia, Lakshadweep and Sri Lanka – are currently high,” he said.

Santosh Gupta, owner of travel firm Shree Vinayak Holidays, said, “Currently, the one-way fare for Jaipur at the end of April is Rs8,000 per person. Last year same period, it was approximately Rs6,000. For May, the per person one-way trip fare ranges between Rs10,000 and Rs15,000.”

City-based working professional Parth Gupta said, “I recently booked a flight for my wife and myself from Pune to Chandigarh for March. The total cost amounted to a staggering Rs 51,000 for a return fare. This is nearly Rs10,000 to Rs12,000 more expensive than our previous bookings. Currently, only one airline offers direct flights from Pune to Chandigarh. Fares on this specific route have surged, significantly impacting travellers’ budgets.”

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