The government is mulling having an analytics tool that will provide future ticket price trends for the travelers, amid lingering concerns over steep fluctuations in airfares. Historical data analysis as well as “price curves with predictive data analytics” are proposed to be utilized to have a long term picture about airfare trends in different sectors. The proposal, which is being considered by the Civil Aviation Ministry, would also help in ensuring more transparency as air ticket prices are generally driven by supply and demand metrics. With the country’s domestic aviation market projected to be the world’s third largest by 2022, the Ministry is working on an initiative to ensure seamless and paperless travel for the passengers right from booking an air ticket.
The proposal for analytics tool for airfare trends is part of the ‘Digiyatra’ initiative that seeks to provide airline travelers a “digitally unified flying experience”. To provide airfare trends for the public, “price curves with predictive data analytics to help passengers project future airfares and efficient price discovery,” according to a document from the Ministry. As per the document, historical data analysis and trends for airfares help would passengers plan their trip efficiently. In this regard, the Ministry is also looking at creating a “civil aviation data repository”. Analytics tool for airfares is among the ideas that have been discussed by the Ministry with aviation industry stakeholders last week.
Earlier, an official had said that having such an analytics tool would first require a reservoir of data collected from airlines, airports and travel portals. Currently, many travel portals provide information on future airfare trends. Airlines follow a dynamic pricing mechanism for the tickets that is mainly dependent on demand trends. Steep variations in air ticket prices, especially during natural calamities and festival seasons, have been a matter of debate in various quarters and some time back there were suggestions to cap the fares.
In an apparent reference to such concerns, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, last month, said floors and caps would push the cost of the tickets. “Strategies for additional capacities have to be brought in place because additional capacities will bring down prices,” he had said. Data with the Ministry showed that average airfares declined 18 percent in 2016.