Lower fares likely as air lines seek 14,000 added flights in winter

Indian domestic carriers have sought permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to operate around 14,000 weekly flights in the winter schedule beginning October this year, which is considered the peak flying season.

Once approved, this would amount to a 13.5 per cent jump in the number of weekly flights compared to the winter schedule of the previous year. The winter schedule commences from the last Sunday of October while the summer schedule starts from the last Sunday of March.

''A total of 12,533 flights were operated in the present summer schedule. Domestic airlines had operated 12,305 flights a week last winter,'' a senior DGCA official said.

''Operations in winters, especially in the North, are badly affected by foggy weather. DGCA will have to ensure that airlines and airports are well prepared before granting approval,'' said an aviation expert.

Durgapur airport in West Bengal and Kadapa airport in Andhra Pradesh are the two airports that will be added in the winter schedule.

:AirAsia India and Vistara, the country's newest carriers, have sought to double the number of weekly flights during the winter schedule starting in October, contributing to an 11 per cent increase in flights proposed by all airlines that will possibly keep fares low.

A higher number of flights may keep fares low in the winter, including the October-December festive season, as the added flights may not give airlines room to increase rates.