(Representative Image: Reuters)
Airfares between India and UK have soared to the range of Rs 1.2 lakh to 1.5 lakh for flights in the rest of August but for mid-September, Etihad, Turkish Airlines and Emirates charging much lower rates -- between Rs 20,000 and Rs 35,000.
Fares shot up last week because of the sudden spike in demand after the UK decided to move India from its “red list” to the “amber” category, opening up the possibility of Indians to travel to the country without the mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine.
Also Read: Explained | Why India-UK airfares are high and could remain so
The rush led to air fares shooting up from about Rs 50,000-Rs 70,000 before August 8 to between Rs 1,18,344 and Rs 1,48,355 for August, data collected by Moneycontrol from Air India, Vistara Airlines, Yatra.com, and EaseMyTrip.com showed.
A look at the available economy class seats on flights between India and the UK shows that most flights in August have limited seats available. Between August 13 and August 25, barely four to five seats are available and these are priced between Rs 1,18,344 and Rs 1,48,355, data complied by Moneycontrol showed.
Economy airfares drop a bit after August 25 to between Rs 96,042 and Rs 1,08,994, with about 10 available seats.
Fares fall significantly after September 1 to around Rs 44,143 and Rs 1,36,639 and fall even more after September 15.
As per the current data Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates are offering the cheapest flights between India and the UK.
Etihad Airways' cheapest flight to the UK is currently on offer for around Rs 19,093 in the middle of September. Similarly, Turkish Airlines' cheapest flight to the UK is currently being offered for around Rs 33,679 and Emirates is offering its cheapest flight for around Rs 34,387 for mid-September.
Prices are expected to drop even more in the coming week as the Ministry of Civil Aviation on August 12 announced that it had increased the cap on special flights that operate between India and the U.K. from 30 to 60 per week from August 16 onwards.
Also Read: High demand | Govt allows 60 flights to operate between India and UK per week from August 16
Market experts said that prices of flights between India and the UK are likely to fall to earlier levels by the end of August due to the new flights that are likely to start operating soon.
"While airfares have risen to very high levels on the back of low availability, most customers have completed bookings at prices lower than the current rates," a market expert from Goldman Sachs said. He added that the current rates are applicable for the last few seats available on flights.
He said that the current airfares were unsustainable for customers as bookings are unlikely to be completed at these levels.