By S. Sujatha
If there is one air route in India that helps airlines make a lot of money, it has to be the trip to Port Blair from the mainland.
The airfare for the two-hour trip from Chennai to Port Blair has suddenly shot up to Rs 19,000-Rs 24,000 bracket one way. A few tickets are also priced at Rs 30,590 one way non-stop from Chennai to Port Blair.
“For this money, we could have travelled to Singapore or made a full round trip from Chennai to Mumbai to Delhi and back,” said an air passenger. According to Andaman-native Naga Jothi, who is now settled in Chennai.
“Even though the regular fare to Andaman is only around Rs 6,000 one way, I was ready to pay till Rs 10,000 due to festival season. But Rs 20,000 is way above my budget,” she added.
Similarly, Radha Ramesh, another Andaman native married in Chennai, said, “Earlier, we used to travel by sea, but now, especially after two children, I prefer to go by air. But this exorbitant airfare is dissuading me to visit my mother’s home,” she added.
A senior official in Air India said the demand was more in October due to puja festival and so not many are able to travel in discounted fares.
When contacted, a senior official in the civil aviation ministry told Deccan Chronicle that since Andaman sector didn’t have enough capacity, the airfare was inflated.
“We are able to understand the problem of passengers. We will talk to DGCA and try to push down the prices,” the official added.