Limited air bubble rendered high air fare hinders international travel despite India opens doors to fully vaccinated travelers
India -In a milestone achievement towards normalcy of pre-Covid times, India on Monday opened its doors to fully vaccinated individuals from at least 99 countries, including Germany, UAE, UK, Qatar, and France. The travelers who have been vaccinated with approved Covid-19 vaccines will now be able to travel to India without a quarantine mandate.
But all is not silver lining in this. Limited air bubble flights have led to sky-rocketed international airfares, posing a big hurdle for hopeful travelers wanting to visit India, as well as Indians who wish to travel abroad.
A return air ticket on routes like Delhi – San Francisco and Delhi – Toronto is starting at Rs 1.5 lakh during Christmas and New Year holidays. Similarly, Mumbai – New York starts at Rs 1.2 lakh. One-way tickets on peak days can even cost more than pre-pandemic times. Though the number of flights will be increased in air bubbles based on demand, said a senior aviation minister, till then people are forced to book at inflated rates.
Travel Agent Federation of India- Air Fare
Anil Kalsi, joint secretary of Travel Agent Federation of India, said, “The limited international flights have reduced capacity and led to manifold increase in fares. For example, Delhi – Dubai’s economy return is currently more than double of the pre-pandemic level of under Rs. 20,000. Spot fares on this route are upwards of Rs. 45,000 while advance booking can bring the level down to Rs. 35-40,000. The government should consider resumption of scheduled international flights with countries where Covid is in control and which mutually accept our vaccines and certificates.”
As India opened international flights on Monday for fully vaccinated people, German Ambassador to India Walter J Lindner tweeted, “Incredible India opens its doors again, tourists now can fly to India. Happy that the Covid-19 situation in India has improved lots in the last months. Hope soon regular commercial flights will fly again.”