Friday, September 30, 2011

Airfares go north in festival season, as does jet fuel. (New Delhi, India)

New Delhi: Even as state-owned oil companies Friday hiked jet fuel by 1.5 per cent, high festive season travel demand has pushed up airfares exorbitantly. The jet fuel price hike will come into effect midnight onwards.

One-way fares for the next few days range from about Rs 14,000 to a whopping Rs 30,180 on high demand sectors like Kolkata-Delhi or Ranchi-Delhi, while a major chunk of direct flights have been fully booked, travel portals and airlines sites showed.

The travel portals showed that air travellers have been left with no option but to reach their destinations on hopping flights and that too, at a very high price.

“I have asked DGCA to use its powers and look into the matter, although beyond a point, we cannot do anything,” Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said here Thursday.

While officials maintained that the high rates were being constantly monitored by a committee in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation set up a year ago, there seems to have been no impact on the fare levels.

The last-minute fares of almost all major airlines have risen by an average of 30-40 per cent due to the festive season, though sources in the airline industry maintained that due to high passenger traffic, the low-fare buckets were getting filled up fast leaving only the high-fare options.

They said the heightened demand has led to most of the direct flights, say from Kolkata, Guwahati, Ranchi, Patna or Bhubaneshwar, being sold out. Due to this, a passenger wanting to travel from Ranchi to Delhi would have to travel via Patna, Kolkata, Guwahati, Raipur or even Mumbai.

For the second time this month, state-owned oil companies today hiked jet fuel, or ATF, price by 1.5 per cent as falling rupee made oil imports costlier.

Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) price at Delhi’s T3 airport was hiked by Rs 899 per kilolitre (kl), or 1.5 per cent, to Rs 58,578 per kl with effect from midnight tonight, an official of Indian Oil Corp, the nation”s largest fuel retailer, said.

IOC and other state retailers, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum, had on September 16 raised jet fuel price by 2.5 per cent.

ATF in Mumbai, home to the nation”s busiest airport, will cost Rs 907 per kl more at Rs 59,359 per kl from tomorrow as against the old price of Rs 58,452.31 per kl.

Jet fuel makes up for 40 per cent of an airlines” operating cost and no immediate comments were available from airlines on the impact of the price hike on passenger fares.

ATF prices vary from airport to airport, depending on the local sales tax or VAT.

The three fuel retailers revise jet fuel prices on the 1st and 16th of every month, based on the average international price in the preceding fortnight.

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