Unrest results in sharp decline in airfare to Kashmir

AP/PTI photo used for representation

The month-long unrest in Kashmir has resulted in a sharp decline in airfares to Kashmir with tickets from New Delhi to Srinagar costing as low as Rs 1,800.

This is in contrast to the fares which had touched a high of over Rs 30,000 in the first week of August when panic had struck Kashmir in the aftermath of an evacuation order by the government directing tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to leave the Valley immediately.

An official at Srinagar International Airport said the number of flights to Kashmir had also been reduced as travel demand has drastically declined. “Not even half the flights are operating between Srinagar and New Delhi these days as tourism arrivals are almost nil. Most of the passengers who travel in and out of Kashmir these days are either security forces personnel going on leave or arriving back or the locals,” he said.

Due to the snapping of internet services in Kashmir, not many local people are able to book their tickets online. Travelers have to book their tickets either at airport counter or recently opened counter at Tourist Reception Center (TRC) in Srinagar.

“There is a huge rush at these booking counters. Thousands of people used to travel in and out of Kashmir daily during the normalcy period. Though the rush has declined sharply, still two booking counters are insufficient as there are huge lines,” said Parvez Ahmad, who was waiting for his turn at the TRC counter.

The average price for travel between Srinagar and New Delhi used to be somewhere between Rs 5,000 to Rs 60,000. During the closure of highway in winter and during peak tourism season in spring and summer, the prices would even go as high as Rs 20,000.

However, these days the average fare amount range between Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,200. The prevailing unrest has given a huge blow to tourism industry in Kashmir with most of the hotels, guesthouses, and houseboats in Dal Lake remaining empty.

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