Jet Airways, India’s second largest airline by passengers carried, has joined the fare war kicked off by low-cost carrier SpiceJet and aped by three. The Naresh Goyal-led Jet has introduced a 30-day advance purchase scheme for fares on flights in Jet Konnect, which was previously Air Sahara.
Passengers making advance purchases would be offered tickets for as much as 50% off from January 23-24 for travel up to April 15. Bleeding airlines are going ahead with fare cuts amid indications that this may bruise their balance sheets further, said experts.
On Tuesday, Gurgaon-based SpiceJet had announced a 50% off on tickets booked at least a month in advance. This was followed by similar offers by IndiGo, GoAir and Air India. A Jet spokesperson did not respond to calls from HT.
"With bookings having increased by almost four-five times over the past two days, Jet and Air India have also joined the race to leverage advance bookings," said Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com.
"This is a repeat of 2013 when SpiceJet offered discounted fares and other airlines followed suit. The passenger is the biggest gainer," said Rajji Rai, chairman, Swift Travel International Ltd.
While January-March is traditionally one of the leanest periods for air travel, aviation experts are of the view that such discounts usually don’t help airlines.
"The industry has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to undo months of hard work with just a few weeks of irrational pricing, making profitability elusive," a recent report by Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, an aviation consultancy, said.