Regular international flights resumed in India today after nearly two years. For the last two years, international flights had been operating in an “air bubble” arrangement with several nations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the previous “air bubble” agreements, the number of flights was restricted to some 2,000 a week and ticket prices had soared high. As many as 60 airlines from 40 countries can now fly to India during the summer schedule, which will be from today till October 29.
Industry experts see this as a sign of hope and say that there could be some airfare relief for passengers. But the ongoing Ukraine war would also play a role. Fuel prices have risen steeply in the last month since Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine.
“Every time capacity is increased, airfares do head downwards. The only complicating factor this time is the war in Ukraine which is resulting in oil prices spiking,” says Sanjiv Kapoor, incoming CEO at Jet Airways.
Travel portals are witnessing a spike in flight-related searches since the restrictions on international flights were lifted today.
“Consumer sentiment is very positive right now. International flights opening up is welcome news. Our recent survey suggests an all-time high in people wanting to travel,” says Aloke Bajpai, the co-founder of travel portal Ixigo.
MakeMyTrip group CEO Rajesh Magow echoes the sentiment saying that their has been a 40 per cent increase in month-on-month searches.
“The dampener still is the fares due to the war,” warns Mr Magow.