SpiceJet, IndiGo launch fare war, Air India, Jet Airways join battle of ticket discounts

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 13 2014, 20:00pm hrs
Jet Airways'Air India and Jet Airways discounts will continue to be in the range of 15-30%.' (AP)
State-owned Air India and Jet Airways, on Wednesday, joined the fare wars initiated by low cost carriers (LCCs) SpiceJet and IndiGo, a day earlier.

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While Air India is offering a flash sale during March 12 and 13 -- under the 30-days and 60-days advance booking category -- for travel between March 12 and June 30, Jet Airways is similarly offering discounts on 30-90 days advance booking schemes.

The discounts (by Air India and Jet Airways) continue to be in the range of 15-30%, and this will benefit travelers who have not planned their summer holidays yet. We envisage that there will be a significant increase in bookings in the coming few days due to the reduced fares, said Sharable Dhall, President, Yatra.com.

Low cost carriers SpiceJet and IndiGo had on Tuesday offered sales in the range of 15-30% under the advance booking schemes for bookings to be made between March 12 and 16 for travel between April and September.

After low-cost Airlines Spice Jet and Indigo announced their Flash sales yesterday, Jet Airways has also announced discounted tickets with tickets being only marginally more expensive (Rs. 250-300) than LCCs. Discounts are being offered on the 30-90 day advance purchase window, said Rajesh Magow, Co-founder & CEO-India, MakeMyTrip.

A popular route like Delhi-Goa is on offer at Rs. 3299 (one-way) while the spot-fare for the same route is about Rs. 11,148. Since the fare-validity window is falling in peak summer holiday season, we expect travelers will use this opportunity to upgrade the transport-leg of their holiday to flight instead of rail or other land transport options, he added.

These are tactics that carriers have to deploy in order to retain market share. It is a win-win situation for both; passengers, who can reduce their travel cost by almost 30% if they book in advance, as well as for airlines, who plan to fill at least 10-15% of their inventory on these fares, said Neelu Singh, COO, Ezeego1.com.

The latest airfare discounts are the fourth in the last two months. In each of the earlier instances, other airlines had followed suit after one of them doled out discounts.

Recently, a report by Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said that Indian carriers lost $1.65 billion on revenue of $ 9.5 billion in FY13, while 40% of the annual loss was generated in fourth quarter (January-March 2013) period itself.

The fourth quarter is generally considered the weakest in the year, according to industry experts, when airlines often struggle to fill up its seats.