Mumbai: Local carrier Kingfisher Airlines Ltd announced on Friday that it is moving at least 25 full-service flights to its low-fare segment Kingfisher Red beginning 15 May.
These flights include routes connecting cities such as Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Jammu, Lucknow and Chennai.
Kingfisher has sent a communication to this effect—which was reviewed by Mint—to travel agents across the country.
The move comes a day after Jet Airways (India) Ltd announced it was launching a new all-economy, no-frills service called Jet Konnect.
Jet Airways has positioned Konnect along the same lines as JetLite, the airline’s existing no-frills service, and Kingfisher Red.
Jet and Kingfisher’s moves to convert full-service flights to the low-fare segment aim to attract passengers at a time when the Indian aviation industry is facing losses of $2 billion (around Rs10,000 crore) for fiscal 2009.
This also means that the larger full-service carriers such as Jet and Kingfisher are encroaching into territory that was until now the preserve of airlines such as SpiceJet Ltd, InterGlobel Aviation Pvt. Ltd that runs IndiGo and GoAirlines (India) Pvt. Ltd’s GoAir.
“Passengers are moving towards low fare side with the economy witnessing slowdown. There low fares makes lot of sense as it will increase the seat occupancy factor, too. We will be introducing more Konnect flights based on the response,” said Sudheer Raghavan, chief commercial officer with Jet Airways.
“Full-service carriers opting for the low-fare route will help in bringing down fares and increasing passenger load,” said Arup Sen, executive director at travel firm Cox and Kings India Ltd.
“Finally, those who had migrated to low-fare carriers, will come back to the legacy carriers as they have better connectivity and schedules,” Sen added.