For the first time in two years, Indian travelers are free to make summer plans without having to take into account the travel restrictions associated with Covid. And with international flights resuming their regular schedule, foreign destinations have top wish lists.
According to Travel Predictions 2022 by the Dutch online travel agency Booking.com, 65% of Indian travelers say they do not care where they go on holiday, as long as it is the type of trip they want. According to company figures, Indian tourists flock to seaside resorts and hills to escape the summer heat.
According to a survey by ZestMoney, an EMI and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) funding network, 70% of Indians want to travel during the summer, reflecting reduced demand after two years of pandemic.
According to a customer survey conducted to better understand Indians’ travel plans and holiday preferences, 60% of respondents said they would travel inland, while almost 40% said they would travel abroad in the next three months now that they have lift restrictions on the pandemic. . About 2,000 people from all over India responded to the study, the majority of whom were millennials and Gen Z.
The rise in air fares, however, has hit the holiday spirit to some extent, following a sharp rise in the price of air turbine fuel (ATF) and an increase in user development fees (UDF) – an element of air and aeronautical charges airlines pay at airports.
Domestic air passenger traffic fell 4.58% from 2,317,915 in the week ended March 1 to 2,211,838 in the week ending April 7, indicating that high prices, among other factors, may have affected demand, according to with the aviation analysis website NetworkThoughts.
However, domestic passenger air traffic is expected to be around FY22 million, up about 59% from a year earlier but down 40% from pre-Covid levels, according to a report published by rating agency Icra Ltd.
On the other hand, according to a report by the rating agency Crisil Ltd, Indian airlines may experience a record loss of more than 20,000 crore Rs in the 22nd year, which is 44% higher than the loss reported last year. Domestic air traffic is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of 2022-2023.
But in May, it was reported that many airlines charge domestic passengers for check-in at the airport counters, much to the dismay of travel enthusiasts.
Following the resumption of part-time domestic flights in May 2020, the government imposed certain conditions, such as requiring passengers to check in online. Since then, many airlines have been charging domestic passengers a fee for check-in at the airport counters.
A passenger recently complained on Twitter about airlines charging a check-in fee, comparing it to a restaurant that charges a customer extra for serving a meal on a plate. Another user pointed to Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, calling the practice “ridiculous”.
In this tweet, the minister responded by saying: “I agree, I will consider it as soon as possible”.
As the departure is a commercial choice made by troubled Indian airlines, it remains to be seen how the government will persuade them to reconsider, especially at a time when airline operating costs are at an all-time high due to high interest rates. . wind turbine fuel (ATF) and a record low rupee.
The high ATF base price combined with even higher VAT rates and excise duties have made aircraft fuel for domestic flights in India one of the most expensive in the world. Delhi and Maharashtra, which have India’s largest air hubs, have not yet reduced VAT on ATF. The Center also refused to reduce the excise duty on aircraft fuel, despite the demands of the airlines.
Domestic fare zones, set by the Ministry of Aviation and valid for tickets sold for flights departing within 15 days of purchase, have not been updated for several months, despite rising fuel prices.
News18.com spoke with Jyoti Mayal, President of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). Explaining the air travel industry during the summer holidays, he said: “Air travel is expected to reach new heights this summer. As we all know, it has already reached the pre-Covid levels and now we are sure that it will soon exceed this number “.
“There are many reasons for this. For example, MICE. Various companies have seen a big drop in their customers and, therefore, to recover from the turmoil, we expect many large trade fairs, exhibitions, meetings, etc. the next 2-3 months “, he added.
“Also, as India is a country with the largest youth population, these young people who were stuck in their homes will now start traveling again. “Given that most of them have high disposable incomes, especially those in the IT sector, airlines will definitely be the preferred mode of travel,” the TAAI president said.
Asked about the increase in flight fares and whether it would affect holiday plans, Mayal said: “Indeed with the increase in the ATF price, fares have also increased. However, as summers are the holiday season, I hope travelers will not object to paying a slightly higher amount for the next two to three months. “
“But to be honest, it can’t go on like this for long. “The government should intervene and propose a solution to this, otherwise it will hinder the development of the industry which has just begun to recover after two years,” he added.
As Jet Airways and Akasa Air are expected to launch in the first half of this year, News18 asked Mayal if these new additions would bring any significant change to current airline trends.
In an email response, he said: “Yes, it will definitely bring a big change. More players means more competition and the traveler will benefit. It will further expand the market. “
“Time is money nowadays and better services at a reasonable cost will attract more people to choose air travel as a way of traveling. In addition, the exemplary work of the Ministry of Aviation will play a critical role “, he explained.
“With an airstrip being added to the existing infrastructure more or less every two months and the government focusing on regional connectivity, these two airlines will create a seat for themselves in no time, provided they do a thorough search for the target customers, the itineraries, and above all, the management of the functions in the most innovative and automated ways “.
Since more expensive airline tickets could disappoint Indian travelers, there are some money saving tips that can help.
– Once you have finalized your travel dates and destinations, book your airline tickets as soon as possible instead of waiting to avoid higher fares
– According to frequent travelers, booking airline tickets at midnight from Monday to Wednesday can lower your fares
– Compare flight fares given on different sites
– When visiting airline websites, setting price alerts could be helpful
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