Dhangadhi: The airline industry has taken a keen interest in raising airfares, with prices surging by Rs. 6,000 as the festival season gets underway.
Private airline companies are now charging passengers traveling from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi a hefty sum of Rs. 17,000. Despite these increased fares during the festive season, passengers are struggling to secure air tickets. At this time, airline companies are firmly enforcing their fare hikes.
Basantaraj Joshi, who had paid an airfare of Rs. 17,600 for a trip from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi during Dashain last year, was willing to pay a premium for a ticket this year. Passengers traveling from major airports to remote areas are particularly affected, as the number of flights serving these remote routes is reduced.
Nisha Pandey from Dhangadhi is one of many individuals who are fervently seeking Dashain tickets for air travel. She reported that online bookings have already closed, and she encountered difficulties securing tickets even at the airline ticket counters. During Dashain, road and air transport play crucial roles in Nepal's transportation network.
Air travel is generally seen as a more efficient mode of transportation, especially during the festival season. According to Buddha Air, the maximum fare for a Dashain flight from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi now stands at Rs. 17,186, while the discounted fare to the same destination is Rs. 11,000. Airline companies contend that the increased prices are necessary after the concessional fare tickets have been exhausted.
Despite maintaining consistent air fuel prices, airlines have hiked fares arbitrarily. According to Buddha Air, the concessional fare for the Kathmandu-Dhangadhi route has risen from Rs. 11,000 to Rs. 17,200. The cost of domestic flights frequently spikes during the festive season.
As the festival of Dashain draws nearer, the airfare for the longest domestic flight, Kathmandu to Dhangadhi, has effectively doubled. Normally, a clear-weather journey by air from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Surprisingly, tickets to India's capital, New Delhi, which is 1 hour and 45 minutes away by air, can be obtained for a maximum of Rs. 14,000.
This price discrepancy between traveling to New Delhi and Kathmandu has sparked discussion on social media platforms. The cost of aviation fuel has not seen any recent increases, making it puzzling why airfares have surged arbitrarily, leaving ordinary people who travel home for the festival season to bear the brunt of the higher prices.