Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is currently under treatment at the Mayo Clinic in the US, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his urgent intervention to see that the "exorbitant" airfares in the domestic and international sector are reduced. In his letter written on Tuesday, May 3, the Chief Minister said that the high prices are detrimental to the tourism industry in India, which has taken a massive blow since the onset of the COVI-19 pandemic.
"I write this letter to invite your kind attention to the substantial hike in air fares in all domestic and international sectors which is adversely affecting a large number of our pravasis who travel to their home country in the vacation time, besides, tourists have also started visiting after the decline of incidence of COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter stated. "One of the major key sectors affected by COVID-19 was the hospitality industry, including travel and tourism. Though this sector has been opened and has started functioning normally, the new challenge which can be the reason for a setback to return to normalcy is the exorbitant air fares," he said.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan, in his letter, also gave an example of pre-COVID-19 fares and the current price of domestic air travel, to highlight the massive hike. From Kochi to Delhi, the fares jumped from Rs 4,000 pre-pandemic to the current Rs 10,000, and even within Kerala, airfare jumped from Rs 1,500 to Rs 4,800 from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi, the Chief Minister said.
Likewise in the international sector, it shot up more than a staggering 300% from Rs 12,000 to Rs 40,000 to Dubai and Abu Dhabi and almost four times to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia from Rs 15,000 to Rs 58,000, the Chief Minister claimed. As per a report in The New Indian Express, due to high demand from those coming to Kerala from Gulf countries for Eid and due to a hike in turbine fuel prices, airfare to Kerala from these countries jumped by nearly 30-40% in the last few days, as per tour operators.