Amid the Jat community’s agitation for job quota, which led to the multiple blockades of roads and railway tracks in Haryana, airlines showed their opportunistic side by charging passengers an astronomical Rs 99,000 for Delhi-Chandigarh flight on February 21.
Travel portals showed that the one-way, 45-minute flight was costing almost double that of a Delhi-London return flight that costs around Rs 46,000. In comparison, a Delhi-New York return ticket costs around Rs 63,000.
Likewise, the one-way plane fares from Amritsar and Jaipur to the capital also shot up massively.
With people desperate to get out of Chandigarh, flights were fully booked. Few vacant seats were sold for a premium.
A ten-fold jump was reported in airfares across the board from economy to business class seats.
The normal charges would be somewhere between Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 on regular days.
To fly from Delhi to Amritsar on February 21, the tickets went up to Rs 16,600 but for February 22, the price dropped to Rs 7,000. No seats were available on the Amritsar-Delhi flights for either February 21 or February 22.
What was surprising that airfares hit the roof despite the aviation ministry order instructing the four big airlines —Air India, IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet— to run extra flights.
Last year in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised his concern over the frequent sharp hikes in airfares, especially during peak travel times and when someone has to buy a ticket on short notice to travel for an emergency. The PM had asked for a solution to this problem.
To this, minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma replied that airlines need to reduce fares and not hike them particularly when it comes to emergency travel like in medical emergency. Earlier also, CCI had looked into alleged cartelisation in fixing of air fares, but did not find any evidence of competition norm violations.