A recent Facebook post by T M Thomas Isaac, former finance minister of Kerala, about low airfares from Kochi compared to Thiruvananthapuram has sparked a debate. In the post, Isaac said that airfares to Hyderabad from Kochi are far lower than from the state capital and claimed that this situation emerged only after the Thiruvananthapuram airport was taken over by the Adani group. The former minister also argued that the fares from Kochi are low as the airport is under the state government.
However, aviation experts countered Isaac’s views by pointing that fares would fall if more seats are available. Airport authorities have no role in deciding airfares, they added. “Fares are fixed by airline companies. On monopoly routes, airlines charge high rates. For instance, on the Thiruvananthapuram-Hyderabad route – which Isaac highlighted – the only operator is Indigo airlines,” said an aviation official.
Compared to Thiruvananthapuram, there are more schedules and seats to various destinations from Kochi. When several airlines operate on the same route, there would be competition between them and rates are kept low to attract passengers, the official explained.
Stressing this fact, an official of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) said that while there are 100 weekly services from Kochi to Bengaluru, a mere 35 schedules operate from Thiruvananthapuram to the Karnataka capital during the same period. At an average of 180 seats on each aircraft, 18,000 seats are available to Bengaluru from Kochi per week, compared to 6,300 from Thiruvananthapuram.
“CIAL also offers discounts on landing and parking fees to attract more airline companies to Kochi. When the working expenditure of the airlines falls, they pass on the benefits to passengers,” the official said.
TVM vs Kochi
Following is a list of lowest airfares to various destinations from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi respectively on October 3 (Figures could vary depending on date of booking, plan and booking agency).
(Fares from Thiruvananthapuram listed first followed by that from Kochi)
New Delhi: Rs 10,945 (Vistara); Rs 8,985 (Vistara)
Mumbai: Rs 6,348 (Indigo); Rs 5,727 (Go First)
Bengaluru: Rs 4,668 (Indigo); Rs 1,994 (Akasa Air)
Chennai: Rs 4,823 (Indigo); Rs 4,385 (Indigo)
Hyderabad: Rs 8,501 (Indigo); Rs 5,333 (Indigo)