Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Airlines to score high with Games, airfares to go up 15-20% after Aug

Air fares are expected to rise by 15-20% after August, since advance bookings for the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi will start in October. It is also expected that leisure travellers will plan their holidays during this time, keeping the Diwali vacations in mind—thereby increasing air travel.

There is, however, a nominal hike in airfares in the offing soon, with fares poised to go up by Rs 100 for domestic travel and Rs 500 for international travel starting July 1. This is owing to the service tax, capped at Rs 100 on domestic travel and at Rs 500 on economy class international travel. Also, fares could go up in case of an unprecedented rise in aviation turbine fuel cost (ATF), which constitutes over 50% of the operating cost to any airline.

Says Bhawna Agarwal, vice-president (airlines) at Yatra.com, “From August, there will be an escalation in advance bookings on account of the CommonWealth Games 2010, coinciding with seasonal booking for summer vacations. As the holiday season commences, airlines will, in full swing, try and improve yields on routes with high-density traffic.” Agarwal also adds that from Thursday, fares will see a nominal movement of Rs 100 in the domestic category which is a negligible percentage increase calculated on the gross value of a ticket. The June quarter is considered a lean season and fares on certain key sectors were already as low as Rs 2,000 in the first week of June, leaving rooms for fare hikes.

Airlines are in no mood to hike fares immediately due to a lean season, unless the situation demands so. According to a spokesperson from Kingfisher Airlines, “As and when there is a fare hike, we shall announce it.” However, in January 2009, all carriers had simultaneously announced a fare hike of up to 25% on key profitable routes where the loads were above 80%. Since then, airlines have been following a cycle of peak and lean seasons while revising fares.

Mahantesh Sabarad from Fortune Finance sees a passenger growth of 15% in the domestic space as there is an increase in demand at par with supply. Airlines like SpiceJet and Jet, amongst others, will receive delivery of aircraft in the ensuing months. These aircraft will be deployed on high-traffic routes.

However, the crucial factor in determining a fare hike is the ATF cost, which is currently under control, compared to August 2008 levels and even.

levels after that, when crude oil peaked at $147, a barrel, the highest levels seen in that time. However, the price did soften to $100 a barrel in the ensuing months.

Fuel prices have fallen year-over-year substantially and is now trading at $78.12 a barrel (as on Monday). An official from a full-service carrier says, “ If crude prices rise unprecedentedly, airlines have no choice but to raise fares.” According to a recent report by IDFC Securities, “ATF prices are pegged at approximately 45% lower than what they were in the financial year 2008-09, which has helped carriers like Jet significantly reduce their operating costs.”

IPBF’s Documentary Film On Commonwealth Games 2010

The International Public Broadcasting Forum has announced documentary on the 100 days of Queen’s Baton Relay which started from Wagah Boarder and will finish in New Delhi.

“It is our honor and privilege to be part of Commonwealth Games 2010, that has induced us to go head with the making of another documentary on the ‘Queen’s Baton Relay 100 days’” said Sandeep Marwah President of Marwah Studios and Chairperson of International Public Broadcasting Forum while appreciating the film makers team which has already started covering Queen’s Baton Relay from last few days.

“I am enjoying coordinating this documentary from Delhi and will see to it that all those precious moments must be recorded which need to be the part of this Documentary” said R.K.Singh Vice President of International Public Broadcasting Forum.

This Documentary will be other than the part of the Multi Media agreement which Marwah Studios has signed with the Organizing Committee of Commonwealth Games 2010.

Free Games tickets for students proposed

Sports Minister M.S. Gill Tuesday suggested that students be provided free tickets for the Commonwealth Games in October.

Addressing a function in the capital, he said such a move will help students get motivated and many champions will emerge in the future from universities and schools.

Sports is all about youth. So I want to request the Organising Committee (OC) to keep a block of free tickets for students from leading schools, and also villages," he said.

However, Games OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who was also present at the event, did not react immediately to Gill's proposal.

To a query that whether the OC will be able to do it, Gill said: I am sure Sureshji will do it.

The Games are scheduled between October 3-14 and tickets for the events are on sale. The ticket prices range from Rs.50 to Rs.50,000.

Delhi set to launch helpline for tourists

To give tourists visiting the capital during the Commonwealth Games-2010 a helping hand in dealing with harassment of any kind or to provide information about various things, the Delhi government is coming up with a 24-hour helpline.

The helpline is likely to have the number 111.
According to government officials, the helpline will not only be of help when tourists face problems at the hands of a tout or an autorickshaw driver, it will also help the person in question get a fair idea about the Games venues, places where he can find accommodation, information about cultural programmes and other related information.

A request has been made to the authorities concerned to allot the number 111 as the helpline number as it is easy to remember and dial. The helpline will also disseminate information about various departments of the city government, as well as about its e-governance programmes.
The information technology department, which is working on the project, is hoping to make the helpline operational in time for the Games.

The tendering process has already been set in motion and a good response during the pre-tendering meeting has made the department hopeful of successful launch of the helpline by early October when the Games begin.
Further, even after the Games are over, the service will continue and provide help to tourists or other visitors to the capital.

Though the Union tourism ministry has been running programmes to teach the autorickshaw drivers mannerisms and skills to deal with the tourists without harassing the latter, the programme has not been received with enthusiasm by a large number of autorickshaw drivers.

Given that the autorickshaw drivers in the capital generally tend to take the tourists for a ride, such a helpline would come in handy in preventing tourists from complaining about basic services, said an official.

CWG: Gill inaugurates Cyling Velodrome

Sports Minister M S Gill on Tuesday inaugurated the brand new Cyling Velodrome, a venue for the Commonwealth Games, and asked the organisers to take good care of the infrastructure after the quadrennial event.

Built in 17 months and at a cost of Rs 150 crore, the Veladrome has been billed as the second only to the one used during Beijing Olympics and will have its first test event in late next month.

There were concerns over the timely completion of the venue due to the slow pace of construction work and the oraginsers said that it was a challenge to come up with a facility like this.

"It's a special occasion today. There were issues but it has come up in 17 months and undoubtedly something to be proud of. The other venues are also ready and I am just fixing the dates for their inauguration.

"But what after the wedding? The 'Pandal' has to be taken care of after wedding. These venues are world class and need to be taken care of well," Gill said while inaugurating the venue in the Indira Gandhi stadium complex.

The venue is a seven metre wide, 250m long Timber cycling track with four metre safety zone made of Siberian Pine Wood. It has a seating capacity of 3500 and also have facilities for the disabled athletes.

The Sports Minister also advised the orgainsers to keep a quote of free tickets for the rural youth and University students.

"Sports is all about youth. I want to request Mr Suresh Kalmadi to keep a bloc of free tickets for students from not only leading schools but also for the students of the village and also University kids.

"There will be 15000 people coming and we have to give them good hospitality only then we can say that wedding has gone off well," Gill said.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Organising Committee chairman Kalmadi were also present on the occasion.

"Credit should go to the Sports Authority of India and CPWD for it (construction of the venue). The job has been done not only elegantly and beautifully but with the the state-of-the-art facilities.

"I have begun to feel that these will be the best Commonwealth Games," Dikshit said in her address.

Kalmadi said the Velodrome along with Tyagraj stadium were the best.

"I was asked in an interview which is the best venue. I said all the venues are world class but there is a tie between Tyagraj stadium and this Velodrome," he said.

"The World Cycling body wanted wooden floor instead of concrete and air conditioned velodrome. It was a challenge and it has turned out to be the best," Kalmadi said.

Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, President of the Cycling Federation of India, also praised the venue.

"I was jittery initially but the organisers kept on insisting that everything will be done. Do not expect medals from us but with facilities in place we can hope something in the Asian Games," he said.

"We are managing with just one foreign coach and do not have much equipments. The cycles are also very costly," he said.

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