New Delhi: State-run Air India and private airlines have dropped fares to match those offered by the Indian Railways for its Rajdhani trains, as they enter the last quarter of the year which traditionally sees less travel.
Air India’s Delhi-Mumbai one-way economy tickets going for Rs6,500 in December are now available for Rs2,400 inclusive of all taxes. Delhi-Bangalore will be available for Rs2,952, Delhi-Ahmedabad for Rs2,199, Delhi-Hyderabad for Rs3,206 and Delhi-Kolkata for Rs2,890.
A Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani AC II-Tier ticket costs Rs2,870, while Delhi-Chennai Rs3,905. The fare of second AC Rajdhani ticket for Delhi-Kolkata is Rs2,890 and Rs4,095 for Delhi-Bengaluru.
There are about 48 domestic sectors on which economy class fares have been reduced.
“Passengers travelling on select domestic sectors in the economy class can avail of this offer," Air India said.
Tickets can be booked between 6 January and 10 April and will be valid for travel period between 26 January to 30 April 2017 from the Air India website, airline city booking offices and travel agents.
In June last year, Air India introduced a similar scheme under which passengers unable to get confirmed bookings on Rajdhani had the opportunity to book tickets four hours prior to the flight departure, at fares equivalent to Rajdhani’s.
Air India said it had received “a good response and because of which it is introduced again".
Other airlines have also lowered fares ahead of the start of the lean season.
IndiGo said in an email to passengers on Wednesday fares have been dropped to as much as Rs949.
“With fares starting at Rs949 you have got no reason not to get out of town," the airline said in the mail, adding tickets can be booked till 7 January 2017, for travel between 31 January 2017 and 13 April 2017.
Jet Airways is also running a similar promotion to fill its seats. The private carrier’s fares start from Rs999 and tickets must be purchased a minimum of 15 days prior to departure.
Vistara said it is launching new flights to Leh and Amritsar and offering one-way, all-in fares to Amritsar starting Rs1,799 from Delhi and Rs3,699 from Mumbai. One-way, all-in fares to Leh from Delhi start at Rs2,399.
Cheaper fares, however, may continue into the year and decline further as capacity increases create financial troubles, consulting firm CAPA said in its outlook for 2017 for the sector.
“Traffic growth is being stimulated above its underlying demand as a result of excess capacity and competitive fares. The downward pressure on yields, combined with cost creep, is expected to push the consolidated industry result back into the red for the 12 months ending 31-Mar-2017," Capa said in its December report.
IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir and Air India Express are all expected to remain profitable, but at levels lower than in 2015-16. CAPA said Jet Airways will be the only profitable full-service carrier in 2016-17, while losses are projected to increase at Air India, AirAsia India and Vistara.
“With expected cost creep of 10%, a 5-7% decline in yields, oil at $55-60 per barrel and an exchange rate of $1= Rs73-75, industry losses could widen further to $380-450 million in 2017-18, although most LCCs (low cost carriers)are expected to remain profitable. Yields could potentially decline further than assumed given the capacity induction planned," the consulting firm said.