With the onset of the festival season which will be followed by the Christmas and New Year holidays, airlines have announced their winter schedule and are wooing passengers with significant reduction in base fares for travel during the November to April period, bookings for which have to be done during the Navratri period (October 3 – 7).
SpiceJet, for instance, has announced its special Great Festival Sale wherein the airline is offering discount on all inclusive one-way fares starting as low as Rs 888 for the domestic and Rs 3,699 for the international sectors respectively. On the domestic front, the offer is for selected routes like Delhi to Dehradun, Bengaluru to Chennai and Kochin.
Full service airline Jet Airways also slashed base fares to R390 on select routes for customers who wish to book tickets during October 3 – 7. “This exciting limited-period offer is our way of joining the festive celebrations, together with our guests, their families and loved ones. It will be an opportunity to experience the joy of flying and Jet Airways’ renowned signature Indian hospitality at unbeatable prices,” said Jayaraj Shanmugam, chief commercial officer, Jet Airways. The airlines though is not increasing its number of flights during the winter schedule as it is focused on strengthening its balance sheet.
Full service airline Vistara – owned by Tata sons and Singapore airlines – is also offering all inclusive air fares at Rs 999 for the economy class and Rs 2,999 for the premium economy and Rs 5,999 for the business class for booking done during the festive period. Vistara is not known for resorting to steep discounting to attract passengers.
Low cost airline, Air Asia India also owned partly by the Tata group, decided to offer tickets at R899 for certain routes. On routes like Bangalore to Goa prices have been slashed to Rs 1,199 while on Bangalore to Chandigarh ticket prices will start from Rs 3,399. Prices on other routes where the airline is in operation has also been reduced.
“Airlines try to get as many passengers as possible for the winter holidays period and lull season after that. Since most of the offers are on select routes and not many seats have been put on offer this will not financially drain the airlines. Although ticket prices have increased from what it was in quarter two,” said an aviation consultant.
According to senior executives, the additional capacity that airlines have added has led to this kind of discounting. The competition in the airspace has increased after Vistara and Air Asia increased their fleet size and the network in the domestic market.