With the peak travel season coming to an end, Indian carriers, including Air India, today triggered a fare war offering limited period low-priced tickets across several sectors within the country. SpiceJet was offering 50 per cent off on base fares on tickets booked on select flights at least 30 days prior to travel (which can be purchased till January 23), while its no-frill competitors - IndiGo and GoAir - launched a similar scheme slashing fares by 30-50 per cent for advance purchases on its websites.
Air India launched a short term 'SpringSale' of up to 50 per cent on all domestic sectors of its network, while a Jet Airways spokesperson said no such decision has been taken so far.
Air India said its promotional scheme would be up for sale from tomorrow till January 24 and valid for travel between February 21 and April 15. These fares, which would be as low as Rs 1,357 including taxes, would cover all domestic sectors of the national carrier.
The fare on Agartala-Kolkata would be Rs 1,385, between Delhi and Mumbai Rs 2,830 and Delhi-Ahmedabad Rs 2292, inclusive of taxes.
SpiceJet scheme would be valid for travel till April 15 but bookings have to be made in the next two days and all applicable fee and taxes would have to borne by the customer.
The move came as the airlines expected a weak demand in the upcoming lean period and attempted to mop up funds for the March quarter, which is traditionally a weak period both from demand and revenue points of view.
Travel portals reported an immediate upswing in bookings within a few hours of the announcements.
"Such a limited period off-season sale is a routine practice in the airline industry across the world and tactical inventory management, to help airlines fill seats that would otherwise go empty. It is revenue-positive for the airline," a SpiceJet spokesperson said.
Spokespersons of IndiGo and GoAir were not available for comments, but travel agents confirmed that these two airlines have also launched similar offers.
MakeMyTrip claimed it saw a 250 per cent rise in bookings within hours of the prices being reduced, with its chief executive Rajesh Magow saying "we expect this to go up even further as word about the offer spreads."
He said that after the success of similar promotions last year, "airlines seem to have hit on a winning formula to energise the sector. Thus, they are able to