Home / Business / Qatar Airways says Jet grounding, blockade by neighbours led to sharp spurt in India-Qatar airfares

Qatar Airways says Jet grounding, blockade by neighbours led to sharp spurt in India-Qatar airfares

NEW DELHI: Airfares on the India-Qatar route have shot up significantly after the 28 weekly flights that Jet Airways used to between Delhi, Mumbai and the country stopped. Coupled with the fact that people flying between India and Qatar do not have the option of travelling via UAE due to the blockade had meant severely restricted connectivity and led to a surge in fares that is affecting the 7-lakh Indian population living in Qatar who want to visit India this summer.

Citing this, Qatar Airways has asked India to allow it to operate some extra flights temporarily only during this summer.

Under current bilaterals, airlines of both sides are allowed to operate to 24,292 weekly seats between India and Qatar. “Prior to Jet Airways’ sudden, unplanned and immediate suspension of flights, Indian airlines were utilising more than 80% of the allotted seat capacity in the Qatar-India aviation market, surpassing the 80% threshold requirement to trigger bilateral consultations for the enhancement of traffic rights under the Indian National Civil Aviation Policy of 2016,” Qatar Airways said on Thursday.

“Jet airways used to offer 28 weekly passenger flights between Doha and two Indian cities: New Delhi and Mumbai. Had there been enough capacity in the Qatar-India aviation market, Jet Airways’ suspension would not have such negative effects as unavailability of seats and higher air ticket fares, consequently impeding Indian family reunions during this end-of-school year and long summer vacation period,” it added while terming the current bilateral between India and Qatar “highly restricted (with) restrictions on seat capacity, number of weekly flights and points of call since 2009.”

“The allocated seat capacity in the Qatar-India aviation market has not been granted an increase since 2009 by the Indian authorities, although the Indian population in Qatar has significantly grown to approximately 720,000 during this 10-year period. This means that the allocated capacity is no longer sufficient to serve this huge Indian population living in Qatar,” it added.

The “illegal” blockade imposed on Qatar on last 2017 by UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, and Egypt has restricted the movement of not only Qataris but also Indian expats living in Qatar, who can no longer travel to nearby airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Manama, for their travel to India. This has reduced their options for air connectivity and further increased the pressure on the available seat capacity in Qatar-India routes, Qatar Airways said.

“All this (Jet grounding and blockade) have resulted not only in lesser available seat capacity but also significantly higher air ticket fares, which is set to continue for at least another three months. The only solution to redress this situation is a contingency plan to support Indian consumers by offering additional seat capacity to allow the families to reunite during this end-of-school year and summer vacation,” a statement by Qatar Airways said.

This has “driven Qatar Airways to apply for additional seat capacity on a temporary operating permit (TOP) basis during the peak travel season. Such requests on TOP basis during peak travel seasons is a common practice in the aviation industry and often granted by the authorities to meet the high market demand. Qatar Airways calls on the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation to favourably consider our temporary request for additional seat capacity to help evacuate the stranded Indian passengers in Doha,” it added.

News credit : Indiatimes