Kolkata: Two days after cyclone Bulbul, air fares refuse to climb down, reach season’s record high | Kolkata News


KOLKATA: Air ticket prices continued to soar for the second day in a row — reaching the season’s record high — on Monday, more than 24 hours after the city airport resumed services following a 12-hour emergency shutdown for cyclone Bulbul’s landfall.
One-way tickets to Mumbai for Tuesday were being sold between Rs 15,000 and Rs 39,000 . A ticket from Mumbai to Kolkata, however, ranged only between Rs 3,800 and Rs 5,600. Similar had been the trend for other major metros like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, where one-way ticket price from Kolkata was three-four times above the normal fare. Travel agents said the fare hadn’t scaled such heights even during the Durga Puja.
“The reason is the sudden rush for air tickets by passengers, many of whom had tickets to fly out of Kolkata on Saturday but were forced to stay back with the airport shutting down and suspending all operations from 6pm on Saturday till 6am on Sunday. By the time the airport reopened, as many as 74 departures and 96 arrivals were cancelled. We are struggling to accommodate the passengers in flights. We hope the situation will normalise in a couple of days,” said an airline official.
The last-minute decision on Saturday evening to shut down the airport had left thousands stranded in Kolkata. While many took refunds, less than a quarter of those who wanted to reschedule their journey could be accommodated on Sunday’s flights. Some passengers were accommodated on flights leaving the city on Monday — the busiest day of the week when most flights go packed. But, several hundreds are still stuck in Kolkata with airlines saying it could take up to Wednesday to clear the backlog.
“We are getting requests from passengers, who want us to accommodate them on flights this week. But Monday being the busiest day of the week, we had a tough time accommodating passengers who had bookings on Saturday,” said the official of another airline.
Tuesday’s tickets to Hyderabad were being sold at anything between Rs 33,566 and Rs 18,939 where the usual range is between Rs 2,650 and Rs 4,450. A journey from Hyderabad to Kolkata bares the real scene where the highest-priced ticket was available for Rs 12,253 — over Rs 6,000 less than the lowest ticket price between Kolkata and Hyderabad.
The scene was similar for Bangalore, Pune and Chennai where the lowest ticket from Kolkata for these destinations for Tuesday was Rs 18,332, Rs 16,400 and Rs 10,176, respectively — almost four times the usual fare. The priciest tickets for the sectors were Rs 31,993, Rs 23,717 and Rs 17,367, respectively.
“The airlines are turning down passengers whose tickets were cancelled last Saturday claiming there are no seats available in flights leaving Kolkata. So, how are they selling these tickets at such premium rates?,” asked Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India.

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