With mercury soaring in many states and people from mainland heading for cooler Kashmir, the airfares on Srinagar sector have become prohibitive.
A cursory look at the travel web portals shows that theairfare on Delhi-Srinagar sector is touching Rs 17,000 for the coming days.Only two weeks ago, the airfare on this sector was between Rs 4000 to Rs 5000.
As per travel portals, the airfare to Srinagar fromMetropolitan cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune and even Kolkata has also seensteep hike.
The rising airfare is giving tough time to the ordinarypeople especially the students and patients planning to travel back home to theValley.
"From Delhi to Srinagar if we book a ticket one week priorto the travel date, it costs around Rs 8,000 to 10,000, which is too high ascompared to what the rate was just a few months back," said a frequentflyer.
According to the flyers same is the case with other sectorslike Chandigrah, Lucknow and Bangalore to Srinagar. "This is an open lootby the private airlines when the airline regulator is playing mutespectator," a flyer, who wished not to be named, said.
Meanwhile, a Srinagar-based representative of a privateairline while talking to Greater Kashmir ascribed the sudden increase in theairfares to the demand-supply phenomenon. "It is beyond the control of airlines," he said.
The vacations of Kashmiri students and working professionalsoutside the Valley coinciding with the tourist season "is also seen as a reasonfor the increase in the rush on this sector and subsequently the fare hike."
"The fares are dynamic, completely based on the demand. Forlast few months Delhi-Srinagar airfare has been quite nominal but the recentincrease in passenger rush has caused steep hike in the fare," the executivesaid.
Tour operators in Kashmir, who had witnessed someimprovement in the tourist arrivals during last few weeks, said the highairfares "prove a dampener for the tourism sector."
Local tour operators said that the tourist families don'tafford costly Delhi-Srinagar air tickets. "The tourists who travel in largegroups prefer visiting Himachal Pradesh or Uttrakhand," they said.
Sheikh Ashiq, President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce andIndustry said, the airlines must start additional and night flights to cater tothe rush especially during the forthcoming Amarnathyatra.
"We hope the Air India and other airlines will start someadditional and late evening flights between Delhi to Srinagar and vice-versa.We have already communicated this with Air India and have received a positiveresponse from them," Ashiq said.