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Flying high: Big spike in airfares, demand for hotels during Holi week

By Deepak Patel & Akshara Srivastava
Last updated on: February 21, 2024 20:19 IST
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If you are planning to travel around Holi this year, brace for sky-high airfare.


Illustration: Dominic Xavier/

During the week of the festival next month, travellers are likely to feel the pinch on popular routes as more than one-fifth of Indian carriers’ aircraft are grounded and demand remains robust.

In March, Indian carriers are slated to operate 21,299 flights per week, representing only a marginal 0.5 per cent increase from the corresponding month last year.

Holi falls on March 25 this year, whereas it was celebrated on March 8 last year.


According to data from travel website Ixigo, the average airfare for the Delhi-Goa route during the Holi week (March 19-25) stands at Rs 16,362, marking a staggering 196.1 per cent surge compared to the corresponding week last year (March 2-8).

The average airfare for the Mumbai-Lucknow route around this Holi is Rs 6,441, which is 27.5 per cent more than in the corresponding week last year.

Nearly 200 of the 789 aircraft of Indian carriers are expected to be grounded by the end of March due to ongoing supply chain issues, aviation consultancy firm CAPA India had said in November.

In November, 161-166 aircraft were grounded.

“More aircraft will be on the ground than expected due to serious supply chain issues, which were supposed to improve but actually deteriorated,” it had noted.

India’s largest carrier, IndiGo, announced earlier this month that it had grounded about 75 aircraft due to snags in the Pratt & Whitney engines.

As on December 31, the airline had 358 planes in its fleet.

Demand for hotels goes up

Falling on a Monday this year, the festival of colours is the second long weekend of the year after Republic Day, allowing people to plan short-haul trips.

“While the Holi long weekend is still a month away, we are projecting a substantial uptick in queries and bookings, estimating a surge of 30-35 per cent.

"However, the real pattern would be clear closer to the travel date,” said Sabina Chopra, co-founder and chief operating officer, corporate travel, and head of industry relations at travel platform Yatra.

“The uptick would be mostly people travelling to their hometown to Tier-II and -III markets from metro cities.

"We expect a surge in bookings for cities like Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Varanasi, Jaipur, and Amritsar. Business hubs such as New Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad are also poised for increased activity,” Chopra added.

At Six Senses Fort Barwara in Rajasthan, the luxury offering by IHG Hotels and Resorts, the current occupancy levels for the long weekend are 80 per cent.

“We are looking forward to a full house,” said Rajat Gera, commercial director at the resort.

The MRS Group of Hotels, which operates brands like Suryagarh Jaisalmer and Narendra Bhawan Bikaner, too, has witnessed an increased demand.

“The upcoming Holi weekend has prompted a notable increase in bookings at our properties.

"Currently, 50 per cent of our rooms are already sold out, a testament to the strong demand from both returning and first-time guests,” said Siddharth Yadav, vice-president, MRS Group of Hotels.

This early trend has also impacted the average room rate.

According to Yatra, room rates are expected to go up by 10-12 per cent in cities like Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, and Varanasi.

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Deepak Patel & Akshara Srivastava
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