Since last few days, the situation created by the incessant rains and snowfall have really hit the normal life in both Jammu and Kashmir districts. But the worst thing that has happened is the increase in airfares. Presently, the air travel from New Delhi to Srinagar costing around Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000 per-head.
According to the reports the earlier the air fare was approximately Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,000 per-head but from past few days- a 200% increase has been noticed which is really creating problems for the flyers on the Srinagar-Delhi sector.
The air fares of different airlines when compared reveal that for Delhi-Srinagar on March 18:
Jet Airways Rs 15,359, Air India Rs 17.131, Go Air Rs 15,628, Spicejet Rs 17,646 and Indigo Rs 14,880.
These increasing airfares are the consequence of the bad weather in the state which has actually infuriated the passengers who believe that the airline industry is using this as an opportunity to mint money which is really shameful.
Since the Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for almost a week due to landslides
So airways were the only way for the people to reach to the valley.
The President of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said the government has failed to control the airlines operating in the state.
He further added that as soon as tourism season approaches or the Srinagar-Jammu highway gets closed due to the bad weather, airfares skyrocket which creates problems for people of the valley. The authorities must keep a check on the airlines operating in the state.
The Chairman of his faction of Kashmir Economic Alliance, Showkat Chowdhary, said the solution to this problem will be starting night flight operations at Srinagar Airport. As fares are usually determined by the demand and supply; when the night flight operations will be started, it will eventually increase the number of flights operating to Srinagar which would automatically reduce the airfares.
The President of Travel Agents Society of Kashmir, Muhammad Ibrahim Siah said that the increase in airfares has a negative effect on tourist influx. He added that owing to this the losses increase in the tourism sector as package to Kashmir becomes costlier than even foreign countries.
On the other hand, the airlines operating in the state have a different story to narrate. They are put the burden of increase in air fares on demand and supply ratio.
And a senior airline executive said that if the state government really wants to reduce the air fares they can easily slash their taxes they charge us and also tell Indian Air Force to not charge airlines a whopping Rs 20,000 on every landing as the Srinagar Airport is under the direct control of IAF.
Last week during the meeting, the Tourism department had suggested the state government to rake up the issue of rising airfares with the DGCA.
In 2014, the State Human Rights Commission labelled the arbitrary hike in airfares as a step “to scamper the flow of tourists to the Valley.” Its committee had observed that the hike in air fare affects the students or local patients going for treatment/studies outside the state badly.
The bench sought reports from Director Civil Aviation and all other airlines into the matter.