Airlines promoting festive travel, but flyers cautious

At Bengaluru airport, the daily passenger average has risen from 10,000, when operations resumed in May to 30,000 now
Last Updated 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST

As Bengaluru dives into the festive season, people are beginning to travel again, but the numbers are way lower than last year.

The airport expects to record only about eight million passengers this year, compared to 33 million last year. Commercial flights were suspended between March 25 and May 25.

“There has been a gradual improvement in daily passenger movement from the resumption of domestic air travel. Over the past few months, as operations have recommenced, our daily passenger traffic has increased from about 10,000 daily to 30,000,” a BIAL spokesperson told Metrolife.

According to Yogesh B Mehta, chief revenue officer for Ebix, a digital cash firm that serves the travel industry, “People are conscious of their buying decisions, even if airlines are offering low fares”.

Airlines serve three types of travellers: need-based, business, and leisure. “Only need based travel is reviving,” he says.

Many airlines are offering deals and discounts to popular holiday destinations like Goa and Port Blair.

While airlines get some revenue from need-based travel and occasional chartered flights, leisure tour agencies like Hammock Holidays are taking a hit.

“There have been absolutely no bookings since February,” its director Dilip Kumar says.

“Domestic travel is spontaneous, people get up and say ‘let’s go to Goa’,” he says, saying impromptu travel bookings are fewer by 90 per cent as compared to last year.

People are driving to destinations within Karnataka, now that flying is not the preferred mode of travel, he says.

“Even with an increase in travel to places like Kodagu, business is nonexistent for guides and naturalists. They’ve marked the trail with ribbons,” he says, describing one resort where people can trek without hiring a guide.

But the industry as a whole believes business will get better.

“We strongly believe flying is the safest mode of public travel and that our passengers will return,” the BIAL spokesperson says.

“Currently, the Bengaluru airport has reconnected with 51 domestic destinations, achieving 88 per cent connectivity of the pre-Covid-19 routes,” explains spokesperson.

Deals now

MakeMyTrip is offering up to Rs 2,500 off on travel between November 8 and 22.

Offers till October 31

ClearTrip is giving up to Rs 1,500 as cashback.

Yatra offers a flat 10 per cent off on tickets.

On Indigo, you get up to 25 per cent off on its ‘6E seat and eat’ offer.

(The offers are on domestic flights only)

(Published 27 October 2020, 18:23 IST)

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