Airlines drop I-Day bait for flyers

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Aug 13 | Updated: Aug 14 2007, 06:10am hrs
Despite hopes that consolidation in the industry will firm up prices, some airlines in India are still finding it difficult to wriggle out of their practise of heavy discounting on special occasions. As Indias 60th independence day draws near, various airlines have announced various discount schemes to woo travellers. No-frills airline Air Deccan wants to commemorate the occasion by offering one lakh free tickets at Rs 60 (exclusive of taxes) for first time flyers, while GoAir wants to honour senior citizens by offering them free tickets. Even a Delhi based low cost carrier which is launching its inaugural flight on August 15 (Delhi-Bangalore-Kochi) is offering the lowest fare of Rs 1,999 on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Says Ramki Sundaram, CEO, Air Deccan, Much has changed in the aviation industry since independence. Once we had only state run carriers as an option for air travel. Today, there are several. He further adds that with the launch of Air Deccan four years back, more and more Indians have been able to upgrade their mode of travel from buses and trains to airplanes. Air Deccan has been able to successfully break the cost barrier and provide the common man the freedom to fly, he says.

However, the tickets will be available for travel from August 20 to September 30, 2007 across all the sectors its flies. The offer is a part of the month long independence day celebrations at Air Deccan.

Sundaram further adds, The airlines vision is to empower every Indian to fly. With this special offer, the airline is looking forward to encourage more first time flyers."

Low fare carrier, GoAir too is offering a free ticket to senior citizens to fly to any GoAir destination in India. Says Jeh Wadia, managing director, GoAir, Considering that 80% of the countrys senior citizens have never flown in their life, we at GoAir would love to give them this great opportunity to explore India." He adds that on the occasion, he would like to pay tribute to the seniors who helped build India.