Flights sold out ahead of Indo-Pak game

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 19:42 by Aviation Correspondent

Ahead of the India-Pakistan semi final at Mohali on the 30th of this month, business class tickets to Chandigarh have been sold out while economy class fares are rising astronomically.

All sorts of VIPs are expected for the game of cricket between traditional rivals and that include Prime Ministers of both countries. The Indian PM, in a token of healthy relationship since the Mumbai 2008 terrorist attacks have invited the Pakistan President and Prime Minister to see the match.
All major airlines accessing Chandigarh are demanding fares as per their like. On 29th March, a day before the semis the half-an-hour flight between Delhi and Chandigarh will cost between Rs 7,407 and 10,482. Fares for flights to Chandigarh on 30th are not put up yet but return fares cost Rs 8,400-11,700.

Compare this with a flight from Delhi to Chandigarh on any other day of the year costing Rs 3200 and you get a picture of the situation. Daily there are about a dozen flights between Delhi and Chandigarh, most them headed to or returning from Jammu Kashmir.

Fares from Mumbai to Chandigarh on full-service carriers cost a whopping Rs 22,000. In spite of the flaming prices, demand for the flights is sky high and most airlines would be thinking of increasing their capacities.
Even nearby airports to Chandigarh are selling at Rs 8000.

Thursday’s match between India and world champions Australia also gave packed flights from Delhi to Ahmadabad. IndiGo kept a price of Rs 9000 while Spicejet charged Rs 14,000, Jet and Air India flights were sold out. People also went to nearby Baroda and Surat. Tickets to Baroda were reasonable at Rs 5500.

Even all hotels in the premises are said to be fully reserved ahead of the crucial match for both teams.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has reportedly received requests from eight of the biggest supremos in the country including business tycoons and politicians to park their private jets. Chandigarh is a defence airport used for civilian flights. There are three parking bays — two for A-320/Boeing 737 type planes and one for ATR — for passenger flights. Some planes used for schedule flights remain parked there at night, so depending on priority those who don’t get permission to operate a civilian flight at night will have to stay in Chandigarh till morning or drive to New Delhi to fly back.