Planning trip to London next week? Cough up Rs 1.8 lakh, thrice normal airfare


MUMBAI: Airfares to foreign cities that Jet operated to have touched a record high. On Tuesday, the cheapest one-way economy class ticket available for travel from Mumbai to London, on April 22, was Rs 1.8 lakh. It’s for a 19-hour Air China flight via Beijing. The cheapest Delhi-London fare was Rs 93,000 for a 16-hour Alitalia flight via Rome and Milan. There are hardly any non-stop flights available to popular destinations like London and Amsterdam this week and on most days next week.

The only solace is that comparatively better fares were available for travel on certain days before Easter. Like, for travel on April 17, the cheapest Mumbai-London one-way ticket was Rs 1 lakh on a 14-hour Qatar Airways flight via Doha. Tickets on non-stop Delhi-Tokyo, one-way flights started at Rs 58,000.

Jet Airways seeks Rs 400 crore from lenders to avoid shutdown

Jet Airways on Tuesday sent a final SOS to banks for immediate release of at least Rs 400 crore to avoid a complete shutdown by end of day. While it is still waiting to hear from banks, aviation authorities have meanwhile started frantic efforts to rein in runaway fares as a fallout of Jet — which had a fleet size of 124 last November — is operating just five planes as of Tuesday.

“During summer peak season, a one-way airfare on the Mumbai-London route would be priced in the range of Rs 37,000-Rs50,000. With no Jet flights available, fares have shot through the roof,’’ said Anoop Kanuga, chairman, travel council, Travel Agents Association of India.

Similarly, the cheapest Mumbai-Amsterdam airfare for Monday was Rs 44,000, but it was on a 28-hour long Kenya Airways flight via Nairobi. The shortest Mumbai-Amsterdam flight available was 13 hours long on Qatar Airways and cost Rs 1.38 lakh. Similarly, the cheapest Delhi-Amsterdam ticket available was for Rs 50,000 but for a 27-hour journey on Turkish Airways. Air India offers a 14-hour long connection, but it costs Rs 87,000.

If this is the situation of those planning a trip now, passengers who have booked Jet Airways summer holiday tickets have been left to bear heavy losses. For instance, Thane resident Jayanti Iyer Kini had booked three Mumbai-Amsterdam Jet tickets in November last year for travel on May 7. “I’ve paid for the seven-day hotel booking in full and if I cancel, I will lose 50 %. The travel agent has no idea on whether I will get a refund. If I cancel the ticket, I forgo the amount. Either way, I lose Rs 1.5 lakh.’’

Kartik Shivshankar, a Mumbai-based musician who is to get married in Kolkata on May 17-18, said: “About 15 guests are booked on Jet Airways, many are Jet frequent flyers. We’re trying to rebook on other airlines.’’ Another passenger, Shailesh Goyal of Mumbai, booked his family of five on a May 25 Kolkata-Mumbai Jet flight in January. Goyal has sent 15 emails and letters to Jet and visited its airport office, but he has received no straight answers. “I’m worried about our return journey,” he said.

The Indian civil aviation regulator, DGCA, can monitor only domestic flights. J S Rawat, joint director general, DGCA, said they met with airline representatives on the issue. “They have removed a few higher buckets from sale and are offering tickets to passengers in lower fare buckets. DGCA will continue to monitor domestic fares on a daily basis and engage with airlines for appropriate action,’’ said Rawat.

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