Airlines seek right to adjust high-season airfares

VietNamNet Bridge – Air carriers want to raise airfares by 20 percent during high seasons such as Tet or long holidays.

Domestic airlines want to raise airfares in the high seasons. They say if they are allowed to set up higher airfares for departure flights, can lower airfares for return flights to stimulate travel demand.

Air carriers hope to increase airfares by some 20 percent in high-fly seasons. The “imbalance” in passenger numbers during these times overloads departure flights, while return flights have few passengers. As a result, the more flights an air carrier provides in these seasons, the bigger their losses.

This explains why air carriers do not want to offer more flights in high seasons, despite higher demand. During Tet 2009, Vietnam Airlines increased its number of flights, to even 135 percent on some air routes, but it still could not meet all the demand. Tickets are specially rare on short distance air routes. Passengers flying HCM City-Quy Nhon, for example, must book flights for the next Tet when they finish celebrating this Tet.

Representatives of some airlines remarked that total airfares on two-way flights in high seasons won’t be much higher than on normal days, but there are big changes in supply and demand. Many northerners living and working in HCM City tend to bring family members to HCM City to celebrate Tet. If so, they will not have to buy air tickets at high prices for flights from HCM City to Hanoi, while they can sometimes book tickets at low prices during promotional campaigns.

In this case, air carriers will be able to increase revenue and have the ability to increase the number of high season flights. It is estimated that at Tet and during long holidays, the demand for air travel increases by 20 percent.

Over the last several years, many tickets have not been sold through official channels, instead appearing on the black market.

In Vietnam, air tickets are sold by agents. When supply becomes short and cannot meet demand, booking agents turn into speculators. The agents spend hundreds of millions of dong to book tickets and then force passengers to buy them at higher rates.

In 2009, when the ceiling one-way ticket for a HCM City-Hanoi flight was 1.7 million dong, a lot of passengers had to buy tickets at 2-3 million. Some reported even paying four million dong for a ticket they purchased at the airport.

Other black market tickets appeared when Jetstar Pacific applied a policy allowing free ticket changes. A representative of the airline explained that they had aimed to create the most favourable conditions for passengers, because many cannot take flights they booked for many reasons. Now that the policy has been exploited, the air carrier will collect fees on ticket changes.

Source: Nguoi lao dong


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