Why India-UK airfare has skyrocketed as embargo on Indian flyers got lifted

Women spread fryums for drying on a rooftop as an IndiGo Airlines Airbus A320-200 aircraft moves on the runway after landing at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport in Ahmedabad, India July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Aug 8, 2021, Hindustan Times. A round trip between New Delhi and London by Air India in general cost somewhere between ₹55,000 to ₹70,000, but the prices skyrocketed just before August 8, the day the UK moves India from the Red list to the Amber list, and thus allowing Indian travellers to visit London, Hindustan Times reported.

Airfares between India and the UK rose up to ₹4 lakh, as senior IAS officer Sanjeev Gupta pointed out on Twitter on Saturday. Not only Air India, Vistara, British Airways fares in August are also as high as over a lakh.

As Air India clarified that its current fare for the Delhi London sector is around ₹1.15 lakh, it was found out that the application programming interface from airlines being consumed by travel portals is fetching the fare of business class in case economy class is not available. But ₹1.2 lakh for a one-way, direct flight is exorbitant.

What has led to the price rise?

The pent-up demand for travel is being seen as the primary reason for the fare to skyrocket. The UK government placed India under its Red list barring Indians from travelling to the UK in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic in India. Now that India has been moved to the Amber list, Indians are allowed to travel to the UK but will have to follow the home quarantine guidelines even if they are fully vaccinated as neither Covishield nor Covaxin is recognised by the UK authorities. But the relaxation will now ensure that students and professionals can now travel to the UK and can quarantine at home or in any place of their stay.

The relaxation has come just at the time when a huge traffic is expected in the Delhi-London line because of the admission session.

The airlines do not have an unlimited quota of flights between the UK and India which has pushed the demand. As of now, there are 30 flights permitted between India and the UK per week. Once more flights are added, the situation may ease. From August 18, Air India will operate direct service between Heathrow and Kochi.

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