India and Canada's rough diplomatic ties have led air ticket prices to soar. This is happening because travellers are looking to advance their plans, since both the countries are taking unprecedented measures amidst souring relations.
Spot costs for a direct ticket between New Delhi and Toronto have surpassed Rs 1.46 lakh, according to data from travel websites. On the route between Toronto and Delhi, it is more than Rs 1.01 lakh. Similar fares for New Delhi to Montreal cost over travellers close to Rs 1.55 lakh and over Rs 1.16 lakh in the opposite direction. Late bookings on a flight between New Delhi and Vancouver will cost travelers almost Rs 1.33 lakh, while passengers departing from Vancouver will pay almost Rs 1.3 lakh, according to Mint.
Last-minute airfares have increased by up to 25%, according to travel portals. Tourists and locals visiting friends and relatives in either nation are the ones making last-minute reservations.
The only two airlines running direct flights on this route are Air India and Air Canada, with a total of 48 flights every week between the two nations. Air India conducts daily flights between New Delhi and Toronto and between New Delhi and Vancouver, while Air Canada flies three times per week between New Delhi and Montreal.
India is Canada's fourth-largest international air transport market, and the air traffic market between the two countries makes up 1.2 per cent of all international passenger travel to and from India. While there were 5.4 crore passengers travelling internationally to and from India in FY23, there were 6,78,614 passengers who flew between the two nations.
India halted its visa services in Canada on Thursday, citing "operational reasons." A message claiming that “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," was posted on the website of the private organization BLS, which had been recruited to do first review of Canadian visa applications.
India and Canada's diplomatic relations took a major hit after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh leader who was killed by masked gunmen in June in Surrey, British Columbia.
Nijjar was a designated terrorist in India and had links with the Khalistani movement. India has denied the allegations of masterminding Nijjar's killing by releasing a statement calling the allegations and "involvement in any act of violence in Canada, absurd and motivated".