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Airlines inject fare sops to f ly high.

THE aviation sector has picked up aggressively post- opening of foreign direct investment ( FDI), which allows the foreign carriers to pick up stakes in domestic airlines, and with the festive season ahead.

Airlines, including Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet have waged a aggressive price war by offering discounts of about 40- 50 per cent for a month of advance bookings.

Since recently budget carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet have gained market share at the expense of full- service carriers like Air India and Jet Airways forcing the latter to cut fares.

" Now, technically, no air carrier can be called as budget carrier. The prices of budget carriers on many occasions are even more than full service carriers like Air India or Jet Airways. So this is the time for us to restructure our fare to increase our market share. Our fares will have to match with the low - budget carriers," said a top Air India official.

Last week, Air India announced the Jaldi- Jaldi scheme, which offers 40- 50 per cent discount on tickets booked 30 days or more in advance.

The strategic move by the airline also comes eying the festive season. " Air India witnessed a drop in its loads in recent times and discounts are meant to attract more passengers to cut down losses," said an airline official.

Air India had earlier hiked fares on two occasions by at least 40- 50 per cent, which deterred many fliers to book with the airline during lean monsoon season.

Tickets booked under the Jaldi- Jaldi scheme on the Mumbai- Delhi route are available at ` 4,931, Kolkata- Delhi route at ` 4,818, Mumbai- Goa sector at ` 2,970, and Chennai- Port Blair route at ` 4,378.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had recently told Air India to seriously look into improving the market share of the state- run carrier.

Ankur Bhatia, managing director, Amadeus, a travel solution provider, said, " Airfares will drastically go up during the festive season due to shortage of planes. It is a demand- supply mismatch. The fares this festive season are likely to be highest ever in the recent years as Kingfisher Airlines is flying only 10 of its 70 planes."

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 27, 2012
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