Airfares on India-US flights have increased significantly since the American government's advisory to its citizens to avoid travelling to India due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, aviation industry sources said on Sunday. The average fare for an economy class ticket on an India-US flight is around Rs 50,000, but the fares for this week's flights are hovering around Rs 1.5 lakh, the sources mentioned.
High demand for tickets on India-US flights after the advisory on Thursday has led to the spike in fares, they said. "Many passengers want to go to the US immediately as they don't want to get stuck here if further restrictions are put in place on India-US flights," said one of the sources.
Some other countries, including Germany, the UK and the UAE, have also restricted air travel from India. The UAE has banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country. The US government on Thursday had put India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives on its Level 4 travel advisory, which means asking Americans not to travel to these countries.
Meanwhile, private chartered flights within the country are also in high demand these days, mainly for taking COVID-19 patients from smaller cities to bigger cities for better medical treatment. An official of a Mumbai-based charter flight operator said his planes have been busy for the last couple of days as they have been conducted continuous air ambulance flights for high net-worth individuals.
The price of private chartered flights have increased by up to two times, said a Delhi-based general aviation company official. India logged a record 3,49,691 new coronavirus infections in a day taking its total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,69,60,172, while active cases crossed the 26-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.
The death toll increased to 1,92,311 with a record 2,767 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.