Mumbai: No frill airlines IndiGo, GoAir and AirAsia India on Monday launched several discount schemes to attract passengers in the upcoming seasons. The airlines launched the discount schemes despite being hit by high costs, led by rising oil prices, rupee depreciation, while their inability to pass on costs to passengers have resulted in lower profits—and losses in some cases—during the previous quarters.

IndiGo, the largest domestic airline in terms of passengers carried, said it is offering discounts on 10 lakh seats across 59 destinations in its network for all-inclusive one-way fares starting at 999. Bookings of flight tickets for the four-day “festive sale" offer started on Monday for travel between 18 September 2018 and 30 March 2019, IndiGo said.

The airline has also offered a super cash amount of up to 600 or 20% refund on booking the ticket through mobile wallet provider MobiKwik.

IndiGo’s four-day special sale reinforces its commitment of providing all its customers an on-time, courteous and problem-free experience at low fares, said IndiGo’s chief commercial officer William Boulter.

Air Asia India has offered tickets to over 120 domestic and international destinations, starting at 999 for domestic travel and 1,399 for international travel, the airline said.

Air Asia India’s domestic discounts are applicable on flights to destinations such as Bengaluru, New Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi, Goa, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Pune, Guwahati, Imphal, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Srinagar, Bagdogra, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Nagpur, Indore, Surat, Amritsar and Chennai, while discounts on its international routs include flights to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Krabi, Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne, Singapore, Bali.

Bookings of flight tickets for the eight-day “big sale" begun on 2 September for travel between 19 February and 26 November 2019.

Wadia Group-owned GoAir is offering tickets across its domestic network starting at 1,099 for a travel period from 3 September to 31 March 2019. Bookings for the three day sale starts on 3 September, the airline said.

The various discounts come at a time when airlines in India have been hammered by higher jet fuel prices, a weaker rupee and intense competition, restricting their ability to raise fares to cover higher costs. In the past year, Brent crude has gained 47.79%, while the rupee weakened 9.58 % against the dollar during the period.

“Airlines are trying to increase demand with discounts," said an analyst tracking the sector with a foreign brokerage on condition of anonymity.

“Indian airlines, which are already operating in a price sensitive market, don’t have an option but to discount their tickets, especially if the market leader and others initiate a price war," the analyst said.

Travel and hotel booking website ixigo’s co-founder and chief executive officer Aloke Bajpai said that he anticipated growth in air travel in coming months.

“Keeping in mind travel seasonality and the upcoming festivities, most of the airlines have announced their sales. As a result, we expect an immediate spike in flight bookings of about 18%," he said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 290 airlines accounting for 82% of global air traffic, had in June slashed its forecast for industry profits, including in India, in calendar year 2018 on rising fuel and labour costs and higher interest rates.

IATA expects global airlines to achieve a collective net profit of $33.8 billion in 2018, a 12% downward revision from the December 2017 forecast of $38.4 billion.

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