KTA slams ‘exorbitant’ air ticket prices

SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA), a prominent business organization in the region, has strongly criticized the skyrocketing airfares for flights to and from Kashmir, terming them as “exorbitant” and “exploitative.”
The alliance has demanded immediate intervention from the authorities to rein in the steep hike in air ticket prices, which they say is adversely impacting the tourism industry and overall business activities in the Valley.
In a statement issued here, the KTA president, Aijaz Shahdhar, said, “The airfares to Kashmir have become outrageously high, making it increasingly difficult for tourists and business travellers to visit Kashmir. This is not only hampering the tourism sector, which is the backbone of our economy but also hindering trade and commerce in general.”
Shahdhar cited examples of one-way tickets from Delhi to Srinagar costing as much as 12,000 to 15,000 rupees during peak travel seasons, calling it “daylight robbery” by airlines. He added that the exorbitant prices have made air travel to Kashmir a luxury that only the affluent can afford.
“The exorbitant airfares are not only affecting the tourism and business sectors but also posing a significant burden on patients who need to travel to Delhi and other major cities for medical treatment,” he said.
The KTA expressed grave concerns over the plight of such patients, many of whom come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. “It is disheartening to see patients and their attendants having to shell out huge sums of money just to travel for critical medical procedures,” Shahdhar stated.
He emphasized that the government must consider the humanitarian aspect of this issue and take immediate steps to make air travel more affordable for those seeking healthcare outside the region.
The KTA has urged the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation to intervene and cap the airfares to and from Kashmir at reasonable levels. The alliance has also sought the introduction of more flights to the region to increase seat availability and promote competition among airlines, which could potentially bring down ticket prices.
Shahdhar warned that if the situation persists, it could lead to a significant decline in tourist footfall and business activities in Kashmir, dealing a severe blow to the already fragile economy of the region. He said the airfare issue has been a long-standing concern for stakeholders in Kashmir’s tourism and business sectors.

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