MUMBAI: Two more airlines announced special flights between Mumbai and Chandigarh for cricket fans who want to watch Wednesday's semi-final between India and Pakistan, but experts say prohibitive air fares may deter most fliers.
Both Kingfisher and Jet Airways announced they will operate one flight each from Mumbai. Jet will operate a flight on Wednesday at 3.50 am from Mumbai which will return from Chandigarh at 7.30 am on Thursday. The Kingfisher flight will leave Mumbai around midnight on Wednesday and return from Chandigarh on Thursday.
Airlines may have thought it prudent to cash in on the cricket fever, but industry experts feel the attempt comes too late in the day, especially due to the high fare on these flights. A one-way seat to Chandigarh on the special flights is between Rs 20,000 to Rs 24,000. "GoAir, which added two extra flights on Sunday, has empty seats as the demand has now watered down,'' said Jay Bhatia, managing director, Tulsidas Khimji travels. "On Tuesday, just a day before the match, there have been no queries for Chandigarh,'' he added. Bhatia said that this is primarily due to exorbitant fares. Also, it is too late for anyone to plan travel.
"No one would wait till the last minute to book tickets or make travel arrangements. Most people booked early. Those who could not find a seat booked a flight to Delhi and then decided to take a taxi to Mohali. It is a cheaper option,'' said a Fort-based travel agent. "Only those willing to spend more than Rs 40,000 on travel and who waited till the last minute booked on special flights,'' he added.
Rajesh Rateria, managing director, Cirrus Travels, said the demand for tickets had died down. "Till Sunday, there were a lot of queries and bookings for Chandigarh. Even Monday saw last-minute planners rushing to buy tickets though they were expensive. But even with two more flights available on Tuesday, there are few buyers,'' Rateria said. A Kingfisher official said the airline had managed to sell only 30-40 return seats on the new flight by Tuesday noon.
Source: Times of India