Only 1 airline to operate additional flights

Only 1 airline to operate additional flights

Director Srinagar airport Akash Deep Mathur said Air Vistara would operate two additional flights on Thursday “if weather permits”.

Though 25 flights were cancelled due to bad weather Wednesday, only one of the seven airlines has announced it will be operating two additional flights on Thursday. Also, despite the state government’s intervention, there is no respite from obscenely exorbitant air ticket prices.

Director Srinagar airport Akash Deep Mathur said Air Vistara would operate two additional flights on Thursday “if weather permits”.

Frequent flight cancellations and intermittent closure of Jammu-Srinagar highway have skyrocketed airfares. Local tour operators blame airlines for selling tickets in bulk to agents who then take advantage of crises. The government on Monday warned airlines of legal action, but a few popular travel portals still show Rs 14000-Rs 18000 as cost of a ticket for Srinagar-New Delhi travel for the next few days.

For people like Umar Hayat, a resident of Sanat Nagar, such fares have created hardships.

“My dad who was in Delhi for cancer treatment is not able to return home because of costly tickets. We can’t afford it,” he said.

On Tuesday, the department of tourism wrote a letter to sales and marketing heads of several airlines based in Srinagar, asking them to stop bulk selling of tickets to individuals and travel agents. But most of the airline officials in New Delhi and Srinagar whom this reporter contacted declined to comment on this issue. Many also said it was not “logistically possible” to operate additional flights.

“We have forwarded the state government’s letter to our headquarters. They will take a call on bulk bookings and other sales related issues,” said an airline official.

“Regarding additional flights we have to give prior information to our headquarters. But weather is quite uncertain here and commercially it is not viable to ask for additional flights,” he said.