1. SpiceJet rolls out ‘cheaper than train’ offer, says flying empty seats a crime

SpiceJet rolls out ‘cheaper than train’ offer, says flying empty seats a crime

SpiceJet, which is undergoing a revival and reconstruction exercise, on Wednesday announced a cheaper-than...

By: | Chennai/mumbai/new Delhi | Updated: February 12, 2015 11:24 AM
SpiceJet, SpiceJet fare war, airfare

SpiceJet announced the launch of the ‘Cheaper Than Train Fares’ sale with one-way fares starting at just Rs 599 all-inclusive for domestic flights. (PTI)

SpiceJet, which is undergoing a revival and reconstruction exercise, on Wednesday announced a cheaper-than-train-fare sale with one-way domestic tickets starting at Rs 599 (all-inclusive). The move, aimed at mopping up the much-needed funds from advance bookings, has triggered a fresh price war in the sector.

A similar offer is available on international flights except Colombo, Kabul and the Dubai-Ahmedabad-Dubai sector, with fares starting at Rs 3,499 (all-inclusive), SpiceJet said. Bookings under the offer are open and will close on the midnight of February 13, 2015. The travel period for the sale is July 1, 2015 to October 24, 2015.

Sanjiv Kapoor, chief operating officer, SpiceJet, said: “At SpiceJet, we believe that flying empty seats, which is the ultimate perishable commodity, is a crime, and the best way to fill seats that would otherwise go empty is to sell them well in advance at highly attractive rates, often lower than train fares, to those who are willing to plan and book early in exchange for fantastic deals. Revenues from such offers contribute incremental revenue for the airline, flowing directly to the bottom line.”

Under this offer, tickets on routes such as Hyderabad-Vijayawada, Delhi-Dehradun, Guwahati-Kolkata, Ahmedabad-Mumbai and Bangalore-Hyderabad are all priced at Rs 599. International flights start for as little as Rs 3,499 for Delhi-Kathmandu, with discounted fares available on most other international routes. A total of 400,000 seats are up for grabs under the offer, of which 100,000 are at the rock-bottom price of Rs 599.

Travel portal Cleartrip’s chief operating officer, Samyukth Sridharan, said, “Usually, airlines fill only 40% of their seats on bookings made 30 days in advance, which cater to the leisure segment of customers planning their travel. There is always an opportunity to increase advance purchases and make the booking curve healthier. The advantage to the airline, apart from getting more predictable flight loads, is that flash sales help grow yield.”

SpiceJet was in December asked by the ministry of civil aviation to stop bookings more than 30 days in advance after the airline, facing a major financial crunch, canceled a large number of delayed employees’salaries. It was later allowed to continue with advance bookings after it paid dues to various vendors, including airports and oil companies.The management and ownership of SpiceJet has since January been taken over by its co-founder Ajai Singh from promoter Kalanithi Maran.

SpiceJet’s chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor on Wednesday said that the airline’s discounted offerings showcased its endeavour to fill seats.

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