Once again the air carriers operating on Jammu and Kashmir sector have increased the airfares apparently taking ‘undue’ advantage of the Srinagar-Jammu highway closure following heavy snowfall.
As the highway is closed due to heavy snowfall, the only alternative way for people of Kashmir to reach here and travel outside is via air.
However, passengers travelling from summer capital to other destinations in the country, and those coming home, complained that air carriers have skyrocketed airfares making travel on this sector highly costly.
They complained that whenever the highway gets blocked, the air carriers unilaterally hike the fares taking “undue” advantage of the situation. Some travel agents here told Greater Kashmir that after the snowfall, the price of air tickets has increased manifold. “Air tickets are being sold at a whopping price tag of Rs 9000 to Rs 11800 on Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi sector,” they said.
“The sharp increase in airfares hits our business, besides giving a lot of trouble to the people,” they said.
Athar Yameen of Travel Agents Society of Kashmir said that most of the passengers who travel around this time to and fro the Valley are either students or patients. “It acts as a death knell to tourism sector as prices shoot up making Kashmir an unaffordable destination. Despite taking up this issue with the government there is no action.”
Many people complained that the air ticket prices are prohibitive. “My surgery is scheduled to be held on January 12 in a hospital in New Delhi. In view of the weather conditions here, I opted for air travel. However, I had to pay Rs 11,000 for a ticket,” said a city denizen, adding that besides for himself, he had to pay for the air ticket of his son accompanying him.
A passenger, Manzoor Ahmad waiting for the flight at Srinagar International Airport said: “The fares are shocking. There are not even flights available right now. They are hitting hard on us.”
Meanwhile, executive of an air carrier said that the prices are determined by demand and supply. “Our fares are sometimes below Rs 2500 because of lack of demand. When the highway gets blocked the rush for air traffic increases, but the daily flights operating from Srinagar Airport are between 20 to 25.”