Despite the festive period rush leading up to Christmas and New Year, most domestic airlines are planning to operate fewer flights. Even as demand soars, over 75 planes of major carriers have been grounded due to engine supply or maintenance issues. Airlines have scheduled fewer flights on not just the busy Delhi-Mumbai route, but also on other key domestic routes such as Delhi-Goa, Delhi-Srinagar, Hyderabad-Bengaluru, and Delhi-Patna in December.
The capacity crunch, coupled with high fuel prices has led to airfares shooting up on these routes to anywhere between 13.7 percent and 155.6 percent for December, according to the data provided by travel portal ixigo.
On November 1, aviation consultancy firm CAPA had said more than 75 planes of Indian carriers, which account for 10-12 percent of the Indian fleet, were grounded due to maintenance and engine-related issues. At 18,048 flights per week, India’s six major carriers – IndiGo, Go First, SpiceJet, Vistara, Air India, and AirAsia India – plan to cumulatively operate 6.4 percent fewer flights in December 2022 compared to the year-ago period, according to the data from aviation analytics company Cirium.
Flights to and from Goa, India’s top destination for Christmas and New Year celebrations, have gone down by 10.7 percent this December.
More than 40 per cent of Go First’s aircraft fleet is currently grounded due to a delay in the supply of engines by US-based Pratt and Whitney and its impact can be seen on the carrier’s schedule. At 1,229 domestic flights per week, the airline plans to operate 44.7 percent fewer services in December. IndiGo, with 30-odd planes grounded due to engine supply issues, is scheduled to operate 0.3 percent fewer flights (10,255 weekly flights) in December, the data showed. Financially beleaguered SpiceJet is scheduled to operate 1,663 weekly domestic flights in December, a reduction of 26.1 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, Vistara will see the highest growth in domestic services in December. It is scheduled to operate 1,669 flights per week in December 2022, an 11.7 percent jump year-on-year. The weekly domestic flights of Air India and AirAsia India have increased by 3.6 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively, in December 2022 compared to the same period last year.
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