Kashmir airfares touch the sky

Delhi to Srinagar air tariff reaches Rs 17,000 KCCI seeks MHA, Aviation Ministry's intervention
Representational Image
Representational ImageFile/ GK

Srinagar: The outrageous increase in airfares ahead of the busy travel season has once again alarmed the people of Kashmir, who now have to pay twice or thrice the normal prices to fly from Srinagar to Delhi when it would normally cost them between Rs 3000 and Rs 5000.

A quick glance at the price chart provided by websites such as MakeMyTrip and EaseMyTrip reveals that the airfares from the national capital, New Delhi to Srinagar has increased from Rs 3000-Rs 5000 to a whopping Rs 17000, which is over 465 percent increase.

Only a few days ago, each passenger's airfare from the same location to Kashmir was around Rs 5000 to Rs 5500.

The price of the air ticket from Kashmir to Delhi has increased by about 65 percent and is now Rs 8300 per person.

As per the travel agents, the airfare to Kashmir is higher than the airfare, which passengers have to pay for travelling to many foreign countries.

The Valley's apex business chamber – Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has sought intervention of the Union Home Ministry and Civil Aviation Ministry and urged them to step in to curb the exorbitant airfares.

According to KCCI President Javid Tenga, the increase in airfare has had a negative impact on tourism season as well as the travel plans of elderly, ill, and young people as well as business people.

"The Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, having taken stock of the situation emerging out of irrational mechanisms adopted by some operators in league with some airlines manipulating the airfare, the KCC&I hails this Department-related Committee for making the appropriate recommendations and observations," he said. "Now accordingly we would urge and earnestly request the Minister of Home Affairs and the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Government of India, and also the Director General, Civil Aviation to ensure implementation of the recommendation made by this Department-related Committee in letter and spirit without fail and any further delay."

Tenga said that in the meantime, the airlines should operate additional flights to meet the tourist rush for visiting the short-lived Tulip Garden.

“Furthermore, this is also the time for the return of local citizens, students, and non-resident Kashmiris to the Valley after spending long winters outside Kashmir," he said.

The Srinagar sector has recently experienced an outrageous increase in airfare, according to a statement of the Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK).

This has not only had an adverse effect on tourism footfall but also caused great suffering to the Kashmiri residents, especially students and patients.

The TAAK has urged the Civil Aviation Ministry to swiftly publish the summer schedule and quadruple the number of aircraft that are now going to Srinagar.

With the early onset of spring this year and the announcement regarding the early opening of the famed Tulip Garden, Kashmir has lately seen a huge tourist influx which has led to more demand for airlines, hotels, and other tourism-related services.

“It is time for the government to intervene and increase the frequency of flights and also maintain checks and balances so that the travellers are not fleeced in the garb of demand,” the TAAK said.

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