Domestic airfares have shot up significantly ahead of Eid vacation as holidaymakers are rushing to get air tickets to avoid the hassles of a time-consuming journey by road and railway.
Ticket prices on Dhaka-Jashore and Dhaka-Barishal routes has increased by around four times due to high demands by people who are trying to avoid the long tailbacks at Mawa and Paturia ferry terminals.
Apart from the two routes, demand for Dhaka-Saidpur and Dhaka-Rajshahi tickets are also high as it takes around 14 to 15 hours for holidaymakers to reach their destinations in the northern region.
Officials of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines, Novo Air and Regent Airways said all tickets for August 9 and 10 from Dhaka to Jashore, Barishal, Saidpur and Rajshahi had already been booked or sold.
Dhaka-Saidpur ticket prices on August 11 is now Tk 8,200 to Tk 10,500, according to bdtickets.com. Usually, the ticket costs from Tk 2,600-3,000.
Dhaka-Barishal airfare is now Tk 8,800, which usually costs Tk 2,300 to Tk 2,700.
It will cost Tk 6,500 to Tk 8,000 to go to Jashore from Dhaka on tomorrow, up from the usual Tk 2,300 to 2,600.
Dhaka-Rajshahi tickets will cost around Tk 8,200 to Tk 8,800 to go to Rajshahi on tomorrow, up from Tk 2,600 to Tk 2,700.
Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar tickets have shot up by two to three times. But Dhaka-Chattogram air travel has not risen that much as people are preferring to travel by road.
All three private airlines have increased the number of flights on different routes.
Holidaymakers started leaving the capital on Wednesday.
Different airlines say holidaymakers now prefer traveling by air to avoid hassles on the road.
“People’s financial capacity has increased over the last four to five years. Many middle-class people now opt for air travels to have a hassle-free journey,” Mesbahul Islam, head of marketing and sales at Novo Air, told this correspondent.
Ashish Rai Choudhury, chief operating officer of Regent Airways, said more people were choosing to travel by air as airfare had become reasonable in recent years. Besides, saving time was also a big factor for many holidaymakers.
Ariful Islam, a banker living in the capital’s Jhigatola, said he would go to Jashore during Eid vacation by air as it might take a long time to travel by road due to tailbacks at ferry terminals.
Biman, US-Bangla and Novo Air operate on domestic routes from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram, Sylhet, Saidpur, Jashore, Rajshahi and Barishal. Regent Airways operates only on Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram routes.
Biman operates 25 flights (to and from Dhaka) every day on seven routes with two 74-seater Dash-8s and one 162-seater Boeing 737-800, officials said.
US-Bangla operates over 36 flights on the routes with four 164-seater Boeing 737-800 aircraft and three 74-seater Dash-8 aircraft, said Shekh Saadi, head of media and communications.
Novo Air operates 48 flights on the routes with five ATR 72-500 having 68 seats, Mahfuzul Alam, senior manager, marketing, informed.
Regent Airways operates 30 flights (to and from Dhaka) on Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar and Dhaka-Chattogram routes with Boeing aircraft with a capacity of accommodating 126-183 passengers, said an official.
Domestic air traffic has increased considerably in the last couple of years.
Kazi Wahidul Alam, an aviation expert, said the number of domestic air passengers increased by about 64.73 percent in the last five years.
In 2013, the number was 648,019, which increased to 106,7,537 in 2017, he added.