With Vijay-Mallya owned Kingfisher Airlines cancelling around 80 flights in the last two days, thousands of passengers were inconvenienced across the country. Some even paid a premium of 20 to 40 percent to travel by other airlines.
According to a CNBC TV-18 report, the common man now has to pay as much as Rs 23,000 for a one way Delhi-Mumbai flight due to fewer flights. Before cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines hit the latest airpocket the average economy fare for a Delhi-Mumbai flight was between Rs 6,000 and Rs 7,000.
Travel agents say fares on Air India are between Rs 12,000- 20,000, depending on the time slot, between Rs 12,500 and 19,000 on full-service Jet Airways and around Rs 13,000 on budget carrier IndiGo.
Spot fares have also risen between Delhi and Bangalore - to over Rs 16,000. The Mumbai and Bangalore sector has seen spot fares going up to Rs 14,000, said a report in Business Standard.
Another report in the Business Line says several travel agents have stopped taking bookings for the carrier as they do not know whether the flight would operate or not. "There are a lot of cancellations and most people are opting for other airlines," spokesperson of Makemytrip.com was quoted as saying in the article.
Over the past four days, the airline cancelled more than 120 flights maintaining they were taking some aircraft off their schedule to add business class seats. Airline sources said 30-odd pilots and cabin crew have not reported for duty in the past few days on grounds of sickness, but discounted media reports that 100 pilots had quit the airline recently. The payment of October salary and allowances of the airline staff has been delayed.
"The decision to reschedule, cancel and rationalise flights were necessary to cut losses and enhance the airline's revenues," Mallya said in an interview with CNBC TV18.
Meanwhile, Captain Gopinath, the founder of erstwhile low-cost carrier Air Deccan, says low-cost carriers have a bright future in India. He told CNBC-TV18 that Kingfisher's move to phase out his no-frills carrier Kingfisher Red will give rival IndiGo a boost, especially since other players are also in a tough spot.
"Air India is tottering, KFA has cut lot of flights and has problems, so IndiGo is going to benefit. However, from a point of view of the customer and the country, I think growth will suffer," he added.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) had yesterday issued a show-cause notice to Kingfisher asking why it had not taken the regulator's prior approval to curtail its flight schedules as required by the Aircraft Rules, 1937.
"Airlines are required to notify the DGCA for any such cancellations or disruptions of services. There are certain regulations which the airlines have to follow so that the public is not inconvenienced. What the DGCA will do? We have the rule book, there's a schedule in the rule book which the DGCA will apply on the defaulting airline," Kanu Gohain, former DGCA said in an interview to IBNLive.
Kingfisher is yet to reply to the show-cause notice. Jet fuel supplies were stopped by state-run HPCL as the airline owes about Rs 600 crore to it, aviation sources said. BPCL is also not supplying fuel to the airline following an ongoing court case over alleged non-payment of about Rs 250 crore dues. IOC has also stopped giving credit to the airline and put it on a cash-and-carry mode, implying that it would not have to pay fuel on a daily basis.
Watch video:Due to fewer flights, a common man now has to pay as much as Rs 23,000 for a one way Delhi-Mumbai flight.
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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 05:06:24 IST