Islanders demand increase in frequency of chartered flights

Airfares in PB-mainland sector soar to new high this vacation
Report by: 
EOI BUREAU
Port Blair
3 May 2017

Sustained efforts by the Administrator to introduce more airline operators in this archipelago, islanders are reeling under exorbitant airfares in the Port Blair-mainland sector this vacation season. With airfares touching almost Rs. 14,000 for a one-way travel, islanders visiting mainland particularly Chennai, Kolkata and neighbouring States are suffering the most being unable to reunite with their families here during the holidays spurring demands for effective measures to contain airfares in the sector.
“It’s an irony that a one-way ticket to Dubai or Malaysia costs less than Rs. 8000 while for Port Blair, the fares have touched almost Rs 15,000 for a one-way ticket to Chennai.  It’s a miserable situation as despite increase in the number of flights between Port Blair and different cities of mainland, islanders are forced to dole out huge money for air travel during the summer vacations this year. Our families back in mainland eagerly wait for the vacations, but for the huge fares this year, they are bound to be left dejected. So steep are the airfares that we’re unable to avail the flight service this year. The administration should take immediate steps to regulate airfares in the island-mainland,” bewailed a resident of Aberdeen Bazar.
“The introduction of chartered flight in the Port Blair-Chennai and Port Blair-Kolkata sectors has come as a huge respite for the islanders. But the reduction in the frequency of chartered flights to Chennai from six to two per month due to off-season has led to surging air fares in the sector. But increase in the frequency of the chartered flights has become imperative as almost all private airline companies have spiked fares to around Rs 15,000 for a one-way trip to mainland. Many islanders intending to visit their native places in mainland have now cancelled their plans due to steep fares. The administration should take prompt steps to increase the frequency of chartered flights in the interest of the islanders,” says some others.