Ram Rahim sentencing and the airfare spikes

Last week saw unrests in Haryana and Punjab due to the sentencing of Ram Rahim, the leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda. Trains were cancelled and the road links were affected due to curfew like situations in many parts of these states. Once again, just like the impact of the North East floods on airfares that we analyzed last week, we decided to have a look at the impact of this unrest on the airfares in this route.

We queried our airfare database (where we store the airfares for predicting future airfare movements for Unfare: http://unfare.in) for the following key routes that we understood were most affected by the protests. In all these routes, flights became the only mode of transportation due to the shutdown.

We are charting the movement of airfares across days and then adding similar trend for a comparable airfare for reference. This reference airfare is the trend observed for the same flight departing a week earlier.

Chandigarh – Delhi:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Jet Airways flight 9W-2654 departing Chandigarh at 18:05 and arriving at New Delhi 70min later at 19:15 for the flight date 27 Aug.

As you can observe here, till 6 days before the flight, the airfares follows a normal trend and then suddenly spikes from Rs.4912 to Rs.18,063!

Delhi – Chandigarh:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Jet Airways flight 9W-2767 departing New Delhi at 16:30 and arriving at Chandigarh 70min later at 17:40 for the flight date 27 Aug.

Once again, the airfares follow the pattern until around 5 days before the flight and then it surges dramatically to Rs.14,499.

Amritsar – Delhi:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Vistara flight UK-813 departing Amritsar at 15:10 and arriving at New Delhi 75min later at 16:25 for the flight date 29 Aug.

Observe how the airfare move from a normal fare trend till 3 days before flight at Rs.4702 and then suddenly surge to Rs.24,408.

Delhi – Amritsar:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Vistara flight UK-787 departing New Delhi at 19:55 and arriving at Amritsar 65min later at 21:00 for the flight date 28 Aug.

Observe how the airfare move from a normal fare trend till 3 days before flight at Rs.4702 and then suddenly surge to Rs.24,408.

Closing note:

There is a very clear trend of fare surge due to the unrests in Punjab and Haryana following the sentencing of Ram Rahim. However, it should also be noted that even though these surges were real, unlike the fare surge during the floods in Assam, the minimum available fare were moderate. That is, even though the Vistara flight from Amritsar to Delhi for 29th Aug was at Rs.24,408, there was an alternate flight in the same route for Rs.4780.

Could this be due to more number of flights in these routes compared to the North East sectors? We definitely think so.

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