Pvt airlines hike fares to cash in on AI strike

The Spice Jet Mumbai-Delhi ticket was selling at Rs 6,255 today while the Bangalore flight fare was Rs 5,275, much above the normal range of Rs 3,000-4,000. While low cost carrier Indigo is said to be charging Rs 6,234 for its Mumbai-Delhi afternoon flight, Jetlite fares for the same route stood at Rs 5,784.

Full-service carriers like Kingfisher and Jet Airways also followed suit and are cashing in on the market opportunity following the AI pilot's strike. The Mumbai-Delhi Kingfisher flight is costing Rs 8,798 while Jet Airways hiked the ticket price to Rs 6,785.

However, in a statement, Spice Jet denied any hike in airfares. "The Spice Jet denies any fare hike. In fact, it has extended full support to passengers travelling on Air India in minimising possible inconvenience to them due to the potential disruption they may face.

"Spice Jet teams across all airports have been asked to accept and accommodate requests from Air India in this regard," a Spice Jet spokesman said. About 800 pilots belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines went on a strike early today demanding pay parity with Air India pilots and better working conditions, leading to cancellation of over 20 flights, including atleast 11 from Mumbai and disruption of many others by several hours.

The Air India management has declared the strike illegal and derecognised the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) besides sealing its offices in Delhi and Mumbai.

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