Flying on Srinagar-New Delhi route is no longer an option for many travelers

The airfare on Srinagar-New Delhi route has gone up so high in the last few weeks that for many it is no longer an option to look at while making their travel plan. Students, sick people, and tourists are instead taking the old way of road travel or are simply cancelling their itineraries.
A cursory glance at various travel portals indicated that the one way airfare from Delhi to Srinagar for the month of May is not less than Rs 10,000. While the same went for Rs 5000 a month before.
Flyers are taking to social media to poke fun at the high airfare. “It is cheaper to go to Dubai from Mumbai than coming to Srinagar from Mumbai,” wrote Fahad Manzoor, a finance professional on Twitter.
Samir Banday, a professional web designer said airfares for June and mid-July to Srinagar are also quite high. “It is difficult even for the next month. Completely overcharged for the entire June and mid July,” Banday said.
IAS officer and managing director of J&K State Power Development Corporation, Shah Faesal took a jibe at the high airfare on Twitter. Faesal highlighted that the Delhi-Srinagar airfare for May 23 was exorbitantly high between Rs 13500 and Rs 27000.
“I wish that we could return to Vedic age. Heard that Vimanas flying on Delhi-Srinagar circuit used to be really inexpensive those days. And the aviation regulator was tough. On 23rd May, DEL-SXR economy class fare is INR 13500-27000. How do we go home?,” Faesal wrote on Twitter.
Speaking to Kashmir Post, a Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist, wishing not to be named fearing his family would begin to worry for him, said he was in a desperate situation to reach back home as he was suffering from chicken pox and high fever. He said high airfares have made him to drop the travel plan for now.
“I am very unwell and wanted to go home for a week to take rest, but this is exactly why I dropped the plan. I thought it’s better to be more patient,” he said. “My family does not even know I am unwell so I don’t want them to know to till I get back home,” he said.
Another flyer Aadil Dar said he was planning to book a ticket for this month end but high airfares are “playing a dampener,” “ I am trying to book my ticket right now. I have been trying since 9 am in the morning. Flight from Jammu to Mumbai is Rs 11300 on 28th May,” Dar said.
Airfares to Srinagar have witnessed a sharp increase of almost 40 percent since last one month and the airline regulator should interfere , said Tanvir Hassan Dar, honorary secretary of Travel Agents Association of India (J&K Chapter). Dar said high airfares are proving to be a hurdle for many prospective tourists planning to visit the Valley.
“All of a sudden airfares were increased which is making locals and tourists suffer a lot. Day before yesterday I booked a Jammu-Srinagar one way ticket for Rs 9000 which is way too high. Tourists book tickets in bulk and with such high airfares they prefer to visit abroad rather than here,” Dar said.
Dar said airlines should increase the number of flights for Srinagar which will help to keep a check on airfares. An airline executive wishing anonymity said the airfares are set as per the demand and supply.
“These are dynamic fares which are system generated. There is nothing an airline can do about it,” he said.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, president, Javed Tenga said in view of the inconvenience caused to common people, the chamber has often urged government including the civil aviation minister that airfares need to be kept under control.
“There is a clear case of nexus airlines have with certain bulk buyers who jack up the prices. We had suggested to the state governmental create a fund and provide the same to JKTDC to buy in bulk tickets on a predetermined price especially during tourist season. These tickets could be sold to genuine tourists and those in need to travel desperately especially patients and students,” Tenga said.