Will the crisis in the Aviation industry dampen holiday tempo?

With scores of flight cancellations and sky high fares, most tourist centres complain of a weak start to the holiday season.

April 28, 2019 11:07 IST | India Infoline News Service
Traveling People
In a world constrained by minutes, people have neither the time nor the luxury of undertaking long winding journeys by train. Holidays, even within India, are all about saving time on travelling. That is why the recent constriction of capacity by airline companies has had a major impact on the holiday tempo. It is not just about Jet Airways; actually a lot of people are stuck having booked Jet holidays long back to get the best rates. Since April 17, Jet has been effectively grounded and looks unlikely to resume any time soon. As for the other airline companies, they are already facing issues on Pratt & Whitney engines and the software bug in Boeing 737 Max aircraft. How is all this likely to impact the holiday season? More so, considering that this is peak summer holiday season when vacation breaks are most likely to happen.
Foreign holidays; oops not with a weak currency
When the Jains had planned their Southeast Asia trip 3 months back, they had hardly bargained for a weak rupee. They had made most of their plans assuming that the rupee would remain around 65/$. Unfortunately, the rupee is already close to 70 and threatening to worsen. While tickets were blocked, most travel agents are beginning to charge extra for the exchange rate differential (that was part of the fine print). Having shelled out more for their holiday package, the Jains are planning a drastic cut in their shopping budgets this time around. Across Asia, they have also asked the travel agents to put them up in more economical hotels.
Booked for Darjeeling but where are the flights?
The Gupta family was fully tuned to spending a better part of their summer in the cool climes in the hills of Darjeeling. That was the best way to beat the oppressive Delhi heat. The Guptas had booked a complete package through Jet Escapes. They are now in a real tizzy. With just 15 days to go for their trip, there seems no way that Jet would start flying by then. Other airlines were willing to honour Jet tickets but then fares would be current. The Guptas calculated that their flight from Delhi to Kolkata and then to Bagdogra and back would set them back by nearly Rs85,000 at the new rates. They will be going ahead but the purse strings are surely going to be tightened.
Travel agents are a harried lot
Travel agents had a busy year with bookings of holiday packages raking in record numbers. Now they have a different kind of problem; all their Jet tickets are in limbo and they are rushing to accommodate the families in other airlines. In some cases, the costs will be passed but in most cases, the travel agents admitted that since the deal was sealed, they may have to take a big hit this year. IATA has promised to compensate for the pre-booked Jet tickets but that could take a long time coming. At least, for this year most travel agents are going to find themselves in a spot.
Tourist hotspots could be up against bleak business
The tourist guides and the curio sellers of Agra and Rajasthan are already worried. Nearly 70% of their business comes during the holiday season and they are expecting deep cuts in that area. With scores of flight cancellations and sky high fares, most tourist centres complain of a weak start to the holiday season. Shopkeepers and hoteliers on the ground admit that with elections under way, they don’t see any resolution to the Jet problem and the weak tourist arrivals.
As India votes for its next government, most tourists could find themselves staring at cancelled holidays or escalating costs. But the big hit could be in the outlets that depend on these tourists. That could be the real big impact of the aviation crisis!

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