Last month air passengers were in for a pleasant surprise. Several airlines, be it legacy carrier Jet Airways or low cost carrier SpiceJet, decided to slash fares by nearly 50 per cent fuelling rumours of a possible battle of fares in the skies. If it is advantage passenger as of now it will be advantage airlines soon as the slew of discounted tickets will help the airlines garner the much-needed revenue to ‘fly-back’ into the black.
It was also around the same time one of India’s biggest corporate house Tata Group announced its tie up with Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia to launch a domestic airline, following government’s decision to allow up to 49 per cent FDI in the aviation sector. While the market is left gasping and guessing if the timing of both was a co-incidence or a planned strategy, customers are busy scouting for more deals as the peak holiday season that starts in April is round the corner.
Travel portals reveal that that when Jet Airways slashed airfares in February and SpiceJet offered 10 lakh seats for Rs 2,013 (one-way) in January for travel till 30th April, the bookings tripled. But that was to stimulate demand during the dull season and also to fill seats as Indian airlines have hit an air pocket. “If passengers are getting a good deal they should just grab it. As we see the next round of promotional fares happening only during the lean months of July and August,” advises Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.
10/03/13 Vishakha Talreja/Sunday Standard