This refers to the report “Airlines offer I-Day discounts as ATF cost slips” (August 11). As per this report, taking advantage of the plummeting ATF prices, a few Indian airlines like Jet Airways, Air Costa and Air Asia India are offering discounts on the eve of the Independence Day in their bid to draft first-time fliers. To avail this offer, one has to book the tickets during the current week only. However, it may be pertinent to note that while the Air Costa (a regional airline) offer is for journeys between August 20 and September 30, which is quite a reasonable period, the other two airlines require booking of tickets for journey between September 10, 2015 and April 14, 2016 (jet Airways) and between February 15, 2016 and August 16, 2016 (Air Asia) to avail the offered benefits on single journeys. Such extensive periods of discount appear to be quite unreasonable in nature as it would be naïve, from a consumer perspective, of airlines to expect that fliers would have their trips planned so far ahead. Further, these discounts are usually in basic fare only, which actually constitutes an insignificant part of the total cost of tickets. But the benefits of the persistently falling ATF costs (accounting for around 45-60% of total cost) since 2010 are never passed on to the air commuters in the form of actually reduced fare. The current discounts may also be aimed at alluring air passengers during the slack season. Further, all domestic airlines must also ensure the freezing of ticket prices instead of the usual practice of dynamic pricing. This is a must as a matter of genuineness and transparency.
SK Gupta, Delhi
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