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Business News/ News / India/  India-Canada airfares soar amid troubled ties
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India-Canada airfares soar amid troubled ties

Travel portals say they have seen a spike of up to 25% in last-minute fares

People bound for Canada board a bus to the airport in Jalandhar on Thursday. (PTI)Premium
People bound for Canada board a bus to the airport in Jalandhar on Thursday. (PTI)

Last-minute airfares in India-Canada routes have gone through the roof, as travellers advance their plans in the wake of a growing rift between the two countries.

Data from travel portals show that spot fares for a direct flight between New Delhi and Toronto have crossed 1.46 lakh. It is more than 1.01 lakh on the Toronto-Delhi route. Similar fares for New Delhi-Montreal cost over 1.55 lakh and over 1.16 lakh in the opposite direction. Flyers will have to spend approximately 1.33 lakh for late bookings on a New Delhi-Vancouver flight, while those coming from Vancouver will have to shell out nearly 1.3 lakh.

Travel portals said they have seen a spike of up to 25% in last-minute fares. People making late bookings include tourists as well as citizens visiting friends and family in either country.

Air India and Air Canada are the only two airlines operating direct flights in this route—a total of 48 flights per week between the two countries. Air India flies daily New Delhi-Toronto and New Delhi-Vancouver, while Air Canada flies daily between New Delhi and Toronto and operates three flights a week between New Delhi and Montreal.

The air traffic market between India and Canada accounts for 1.2% of the total international passenger traffic to and from India, while India is Canada’s fourth largest international air transport market. In FY23, 678,614 passengers flew between the two countries while the total international traffic to and from India stood at 54 million.

On Thursday, India suspended visa services in Canada, citing ‘operational reasons’. A private agency, BLS, hired for initial scrutiny of visa applications of Canadians, put out a note on its website, stating “Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking the BLS website for further updates."

Relations between India and Canada plummeted after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed to a “potential link" between Indian government agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. India has dismissed the claim as “absurd and motivated." Najjar, designated a terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada’s Surrey, British Columbia, on 18 June.

India and Canada signed their first air transport agreement in 1982. The agreement was expanded in 2011, allowing each country to operate 35 flights per week. This was further expanded in November 2022, allowing designated airlines to operate an unlimited number of flights between India and Canada. The agreement gives Canadian air carriers access to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, and Indian air carriers access to Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, and two additional points to be selected by India.

Under the current framework of direct air traffic between India and Canada as seen in FY23, nearly 62% of total traffic between the two countries is on the Toronto-New Delhi route, and another 25% passenger traffic is operated on Vancouver-New Delhi route, followed by 13% on Montreal-New Delhi route.

In FY23, around 420,798 passengers flew Toronto-New Delhi and 171,982 passenger count was recorded on Vancouver-New Delhi, followed by 85,834 passengers for Montreal-New Delhi.

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Updated: 22 Sep 2023, 12:45 AM IST
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