As weather worsens, air travel gets expensive by about 50%


Srinagar, Jan 05: With the valley receiving fresh snowfall, the airline companies have made a steep hike by above 50 per cent in the airfare from Srinagar.
The companies started making variations in their airfare charts for Kashmir after the Meteorological Department predicted that snow and rains would continue to lash the valley till December 7 and possible cause closure of the vital roads.
The Traffic Department has already issued an advisory for the movement of vehicles along Srinagar-Jammu Highway, while the other roads including the historic Mughal Road, Srinagar-Ladakh highway have been closed for vehicular movement.
The Srinagar–New Delhi air ticket costs Rs 10, 000 to 12,000 a person, which is nearly thrice the routine cost. The prices are unlikely to come down in the coming week.
Similarly, the airfare from Srinagar to Mumbai has also been hiked to Rs 26,000 for the second week of January.
“They (airlines companies) do it very often, especially during the winters when the to and fro movement of people increases. Just two days ago, I would sell an air ticket from Srinagar to New Delhi at Rs 4000-5000, but now it’s more than Rs 9, 000,” said Umar Malik, a travel agent.
The airline companies also hiked the airfare to Srinagar.
“A sort of variation in airfare has been seen for the past few days. The tourism here has started to pick up after witnessing a hiatus for almost six months. If the airline companies continued this type of approach, it will be another below to the tourism here,” said former President of Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), Peerzada Fayaz Ahmad.
He said that Kashmir has turned out to be a costliest tourist destination for tourists due to the “indefinite” approach of the airline companies.
“Why isn’t there hike in airfare for other winter destination like Shimla? A huge chunk of tourists gets diverted to other places due to this approach by the airline companies. Our hotels and travel agents offer cheaper packages to tourists, but airfare often disappoints tourists,” he added.
The hike in the airfare is also making Kashmiris to delay their travel plans.
“I had to visit New Delhi to see a doctor, but the airfare has increased overnight. The Srinagar-Jammu highway is also uncertain, considering the prevailing weather condition. But air travel has become unaffordable for me, as I cannot pay Rs 50, 000 for the three of us,” said Umar Ahmad, a local from Safakadal.
In 2014, the State Human Rights Commission had taken a serious note of the repeated airfare hikes by airlines and termed it a violation of the right to equality and human rights.
Bad weather and poor visibility led to the cancellation of 12 flights at the Srinagar International Airport on Thursday, even as snow accumulated at the runway hit operations, officials said.
Air traffic at the airport was hit as all morning flights were cancelled because of poor visibility, Director Airports Authority of India, Srinagar Airport, Sharad Kumar said.
Kumar said six flights could not land this morning. In all, 12 flights to and from Srinagar were cancelled.
The operations stabilised in the afternoon, he said.
Srinagar- the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir- received fresh snowfall today (January 5) even as the rest of the Valley witnessed snowfall for the third consecutive day.
The MeT office has forecast more snowfall or rains over the next two days and isolated rains or snowfall a day after that.