If you live in Mumbai and want to go to Goa for the New Year's celebrations, plane travel may be a good alternative. On Friday afternoon, the cheapest flight ticket was posted on Ixigo's website for Rs 2,664.
Not only is the Mumbai-Goa route more affordable this year for New Year's fly travel, but many popular routes across the country are as well. Spot airfares on important domestic routes like as Mumbai-Udaipur, Mumbai-Hyderabad, Delhi-Goa, and Bengaluru-Goa were either lower or slightly higher from December 29 to January 1 this year, compared to the same period last year.
According to aviation industry officials, this adjustment in airfares can be due to airlines' efforts to correct mistakes made before Diwali. In the months leading up to the festival, airlines maintained higher fares to protect greater yields or the average income earned per passenger per km. Unfortunately, as the date approached, this tactic resulted in reduced load factors on several routes, forcing airlines to decrease spot tickets around Diwali to maximize occupancy and fill their planes.
According to airline executives, load factors on their flights have been routinely at or over 90% in recent weeks. This regularity can be attributed to minor swings in airfares, which encourages consumers to book flights for New Year's Eve travel.
Meanwhile, the recent drop in the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has also contributed to the decrease in fares. On October 1, the price of ATF in Delhi was roughly Rs 1,18,000 per kilolitre, but by December 1, it had dropped to around Rs 1,06,000 per kilolitre. ATF accounts for over 40% of an airline's total expenses in India.
Over 730 flights are run weekly on India's busiest route, Delhi-Mumbai. According to data from the travel website Ixigo, the average airfare on this route between December 29 and January 1 fell by 0.16 percent year on year for tickets purchased 1-3 days before departure.
According to Ixigo, the average rate on the Mumbai-Hyderabad route has dropped 31.76 percent year on year, equating to Rs 3,457 for tickets booked 1-3 days in advance of departure. The average ticket for the Delhi-Goa route from December 29 to January 1 this year was Rs 9,216, reflecting a 1.66 percent rise over the previous year's average fare as per Ixigo’s data.
While the central government does not regulate airfares in India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has a tariff monitoring unit (TMU) that monitors rates on 60 routes in four categories: tickets purchased 31 days before departure, tickets purchased 14 days before departure, tickets purchased seven days before departure, and immediate fares.
On December 15, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told reporters, "If we observe any major spike in fares, the TMU informs the airline, and it self-regulates and brings the fare under control." Currently, fares are under control, with seasonal fluctuations taken into account."