MUSCAT: Air ticket prices from Oman to most major destinations in India have increased substantially, according to travel agents.
The hike in prices, according to travel agents, comes after private airlines are barred from the air bubble agreement between the two countries that is now extended to December 27. Currently only national airlines Oman Air, Salam Air, Air India and Air India Express are allowed to operate.
According to travel agents, ticket prices to the Kerala route are among the highest, given that the highest number of repatriation cases flew to the South Indian state since May this year. A one-way flight from Muscat International Airport to Kochi International Airport cost OMR 156. Similarly tickets on the Muscat-Calicut route cost OMR 135. The cheapest Muscat to Mumbai flight tickets is priced at 171.
However, ticket prices were cheaper when private airlines IndiGo and GoAir were operating in October to these destinations. “Prices were just OMR 50 to OMR 80 to these sectors in the beginning and now its doubled,” said Arun Aravind, Retail Sales and Operations Manager at Fahad Express.
Despite the pandemic related restrictions, the demand for passengers travelling to Indian destinations has only increased. “There is a requirement for more airlines since the demand is high but with only fewer airlines operating to these sectors, the fares have increased,” Arun opined.
“The air bubble agreement was a relief when it was announced as people had too many options to choose from and ticket rates were less but after the suspension of private airlines, the prices have gone up significantly and people are finding it difficult to spend such a huge amount for a one-way trip especially during this pandemic situation when businesses are hit,” said Anil Kumar, a Muscat based resident.
“This (fare hike) has affected people across. Unlike before most of the Indian states have relaxed the Covid-19 protocols including quarantine which is a relief for passengers but due to the hike in ticket prices, most of them prefer staying back than travelling,” said Pramod Menon, a businessman in Muscat.
“We hope the concerned authorities will help in this matter as many people are looking forward to getting back home,” Pramod added.