With news reports about SpiceJet planning to up airfares by 30% following rise in Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices, travel agents and tour operators in the city said it will not bode well for the travel industry this holiday season that begins from October onwards. They fear that if other airlines follow suit, it will only worsen the situation. Airlines that dna talked to did not comment any possibility of rise in fares.
Officials spokespersons of Indigo, Go Air, Jet Airways, Emirates and Etihad, did not comment on queries sent by dna about a possible rise in fares.
Jayesh Patel of Vinay Tours and Travels said that if airlines, which fly on international routes, increase the prices then it will further slump the international travel scene. “Already people are thinking twice whether to go on international vacations due to the rupee depreciation and overall economic situation. A rise in airfares, particularly on international routes, will only worsen the sentiment,” said Patel.
He further said that as far as domestic travel was concerned, a rise in airfare will affect the passenger movement of airlines but may not have an impact on the overall domestic tourist scene.
“A person, who had planned to fly to a particular destination in India say for e.g Cochin, may now decide to take a train, but will not change his vacation plans,” said Patel.
Bhavin Shah, former chairman of the Gujarat Chapter of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), said, that it is a mixed bag, as even though domestic airlines may be mulling at price rise, international ones are offering great prices to lure travellers.
“A surge in airfare will definitely impact passenger movement. However, so far, the indications are that the airlines, particularly those flying on international routes, are trying to woo passengers through attractive offers,” said Shah. Another industry expert, who did not wish to be identified, said that it was too premature to predict an impact of the rise in airfares on the travel industry.
“People now are used to travelling by air. A slight rise in price is not going to deter them. It is not only about money but also about saving time and convenience,” said the expert.