As the summer season approaches, domestic airlines in India are preparing to operate fewer flights compared to last year, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The reason behind this reduction is primarily due to high oil prices and limited terminal capacity at airports, which is causing airlines to curtail their operations, reported Economic Times.
Fewer Flights Approved for Summer Schedule
It is worth mentioning here that the DGCA has approved 22,907 weekly flights across airlines for the upcoming summer schedule, which is a 9.5% decrease from last year’s 25,309 weekly flights.
However, this number is still 4.4% higher than the 21,941 weekly flights operated in the winter schedule. This reduction in flights will have an impact on airfares and could result in higher prices during the high-demand summer season.
Airlines’ Capacity Strategies
India’s market leader, IndiGo, plans to increase capacity and operate 11,465 flights this summer, which is a 14% increase from its winter operations.
In contrast, SpiceJet has received approval to operate only 2,240 flights during the summer schedule, a 30% decline from the winter schedule. This is due to the airline’s financial troubles and inability to induct fresh capacity.
On the other hand, Air India is expected to induct significant fresh capacity in June and operate 2,178 flights this summer, which is a 9.45% increase from the ongoing winter schedule.
Impact on Ticket Prices
The decrease in the number of flights could result in a significant increase in ticket prices during the high-demand summer season, especially for popular tourist destinations. Passengers are already witnessing a sharp spike in flight ticket prices for certain locations.
Airport Capacity and Passenger Disruption
The reduction in flights is also significant in the background of recent reports of long queues and general disorder at all major airports. In November-December last year, passengers had to wait for 2-3 hours just to enter the airport to board their flights.
The situation was resolved after the Ministry of Civil Aviation took steps such as increasing the number of entry gates.
The DGCA’s latest data highlights individual airlines’ strategies amid challenging market conditions.
With the summer season fast approaching, airlines will need to balance capacity and demand while navigating external factors such as fuel prices and airport capacity constraints to remain profitable and competitive in the industry.
(With Inputs From Economic Times)