The 2019 summer holiday travel season is expected to be marred by high air fares as debt-ridden Jet Airways gradually truncates flight operations, experts said. Even though the airline, lenders and the government are still hopeful of a revival, the current trend might see Jet operating a bare minimum fleet, thus bumping up air fares.
"The grounding of aircraft due to liquidity issues with Jet Airways and regulatory directive for the grounding of B737 Max aircraft have resulted in 15 per cent impact on the industry capacity," said Kinjal Shah, vice president, corporate ratings, ICRA. "This has definitely resulted in passenger inconvenience. Furthermore, it has resulted in a significant increase in fares. With the industry capacity remaining constrained, the fares are expected to remain high in the near term." Jet, which once operated around 120 aircraft is left with just 16 in its fleet. Last Friday it operated 11 aircraft.
The airline has currently suspended international operations till the weekend. It has also cancelled domestic flights, leaving passengers stranded at various airports. This led even the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to assess Jet Airways' financial situation."With Jet now cancelling international flights, the rising fare situation is set to get worse if capacity is not increased before peak summer travel season," said Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, ixigo.