Mumbai: Airlines are offering flash sales and discounted ticket prices during the traditionally lean monsoon season, despite rising oil prices and the falling rupee as they hope to attract more passengers and make as many advance bookings as possible to feed the capacity that has been added by them in the past couple of months.
The Ajay Singh-led no-frills carrier, SpiceJet, on Wednesday said it would offer tickets on domestic routes starting at ₹ 999 for bookings made between 4 July and 8 July for travel between July and October. Low-cost carrier AirAsia India is offering tickets for as low as ₹ 1,299 on key routes connecting key cities such as New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Chennai. The airline is also offering international travel to Kaula Lampur from cities such as Bhubaneswar, Chennai and Hyderabad at fares as low as ₹ 3,999 and to international destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Krabi at ₹ 4,299.
“As the demand has dropped during the lean monsoon season, airlines are incentivizing people to travel during the season by offering discounts," said Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer (B2C) of travel portal Yatra.com.
“Despite the rise in fuel prices and fall in rupee (against the dollar), ticket prices this quarter are similar to the same quarter of the previous year," Dhall said. This, he added, is because of the capacity additions made by Indian airlines.
Indian airlines have added several new planes and leased aircraft to their fleet this year to take advantage of the growth the market has to offer. With about 170 planes in its fleet, market leader IndiGo is preparing to add another 400 or so aircraft, including A320s and ATRs, to its fleet during the next seven-eight years.
SpiceJet would add 107 B737-800s and 50 Bombardier Q400s during the 2018-2023 period. Budget carrier, GoAir, which is yet to take off on overseas routes, would induct 119 A320 aircraft during the period 2018-2022, while AirAsia India would induct 60 planes in the next five years.
India’s largest airline by market share, IndiGo, last week offered fares as low as ₹ 1,200 for domestic bookings till the end of June.
While Jet Airways had slashed domestic fares by up to 25% and international ticket prices by up to 30%. Wadia Group-owned no-frills airline GoAir too offered domestic fares as low as ₹ 1,199 during a flash sale last week.
“In comparison to 2017, we have observed a spike in bookings to all of these (popular holiday) destinations. This can be attributed to the fact that most airlines are tapping the increase in demand because of the holiday season, by using big discounts and offers to attract travellers," said Aloke Bajpai, chief executive and co-founder of online travel portal Ixigo.
One of the fastest growing aviation markets, the domestic passenger demand in India is the highest among the major aviation markets, according to the International Air Transport Association. The Indian domestic market grew at 22.9% during the January-March 2018 period, as compared to that of the previous year