New Delhi: Thousands of pilgrims to Amarnath shrine and tourists returning from Srinagar to other parts of the country following the Jammu & Kashmir (K&K) administration’s advisory to cut short their stay in the valley for safety reasons have met with a surge in airfare on Saturday.
Travellers reaching the airport in large numbers on Saturday were carried by 32 flights operated by airlines with the Indian Air Force (IAF) complementing their efforts. Airports Authority of India (AAI) said in a statement here that 6,216 passengers had reported at the Srinagar International Airport on Saturday for travelling back out of the valley. Out of this, 5,829 were carried by airlines and the remaining 387 by the IAF to places like Jammu, Pathankot and Hindon.
Travel portals showed on Saturday night that a Srinagar-Delhi air ticket for Sunday was priced at over ₹16,000 while the same was being offered for about ₹5,600 for Monday. The price trend has got the civil aviation ministry to intervene. It said in a twitter post on Saturday that minister Hardeep Singh Puri has asked all the airlines “to rein in the surging air fares for pilgrims returning from Amarnath dham."
AAI said that all the possible support has been extended at the Srinagar airport and that passengers were flown out of the valley in a planned and systematic manner. The operation was conducted by AAI officials in coordination with the IAF, the J&K Police, the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force the airlines and the state authorities, it said.
The state administration had on Friday advised pilgrims and tourists to curtail their stay in the valley immediately and to take steps to return as soon as possible in view of intelligence reports about terror threats.