Why are Flight Prices So High Right Now in India?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted various sectors; the aviation industry is one of the worst-hit. It’s no secret that the airline industry is one of the most crucial components of the Indian economy, connecting various states and cities across the country. The industry generates billions of dollars annually and provides employment opportunities for thousands of people. With the ongoing pandemic, the Indian airline industry has been affected drastically, leading to an increase in flight prices. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind the rise in flight prices in India.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Indian airline industry
Like other parts of the world, COVID-19 has left its impact on the Indian airline industry. The government of India imposed strict lockdown measures beginning in March 2020 to curb the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, airlines were not spared from the strict measures, leading to the suspension of most domestic and international flights. Only a few airlines continued operating during the lockdown, leaving travelers stranded all over the country, and the world.With the reopening of the economy and the gradual relaxation of the containment measures, airlines resumed operation in a limited capacity in May 2020. However, the number of flights remained lower than what they were before the lockdown. The airport operations, too, resumed with a new set of guidelines for social distancing, sanitization, and health checks for travelers, leading to increased costs.
Increased operating costs
The impact of COVID-19 has not only brought a reduction in the number of flights, but it has also led to an increase in operating costs. To ensure passengers’ and employees’ safety, airlines have taken various measures such as sanitizing surfaces, thermal screening, and providing personal protective equipment. These measures have increased the cost of operation as airlines now have to purchase sanitizer, masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment in bulk to comply with the guidelines set by the government.The cost of fuel has also continued to rise, leading to an increase in airfares. The fuel prices are affected by various factors such as international crude oil prices, exchange rates, and taxes imposed by the government. Before the pandemic, when the demand for flights was high, airlines could pass on some of these costs to the passengers. However, the reduced demand has made the airlines bear the high operating costs.
Reduction of capacity
The Indian aviation sector has witnessed a sharp reduction in capacity as airlines continue to operate fewer flights than the pre-COVID-19 period. Due to the reduction in flights’ frequency, the demand for air travel has continued to outpace supply, leading to a surge in ticket prices. Additionally, the limited seat capacity has resulted in airlines adopting higher yield management – a strategy of maximizing revenue per seat – thereby leading to higher prices.
High demand for air travel
With the resumption of domestic flights, the demand for air travel has also surged. Many travelers are opting for air travel over other modes of transportation for essential travel, business trips, or personal reasons. The air travel demand is also driven by stranded individuals who are trying to return home from various parts of the country. Moreover, the passengers who made reservations during the lockdown period have been demanding refunds, leading to a reduction in the number of available seats.
In summary, flight prices in India are currently on the higher side due to a combination of factors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines are facing increased operating costs, limited capacity, and high demand for air travel. Although the pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry’s recovery remains uncertain, airlines and other stakeholders remain optimistic and continue to explore various solutions to adapt to the changing circumstances.If you’re planning to travel by air, try booking in advance, compare fares across multiple airlines, and check for various offers and discounts on different travel portals. Additionally, it is advisable to check the airline’s website for updated guidelines and rules in light of the ongoing pandemic.