Intensifying the competition, IndiGo and AirAsia are set to launch its daily direct service on the Chandigarh-Bengaluru route from next month. Till date, no airlines provide direct service to the southern IT city from Chandigarh.
IndiGo will launch its flight from September 1 while low-cost Malaysian carrier AirAsia on Tuesday announced its entry to north India with this daily flight to Bengaluru from the city on September 5.
Taking the aviation industry for a ride with its cheap fares, the airlines claimed to offer 30% cheaper fares than rival airlines on Chandigarh-Bengaluru route.
Apart from this, IndiGo is also starting a daily flight on the Chandigarh-Srinagar route that will also become operational on September 1. So far, only SpiceJet runs an hour-long Chandigarh-Srinagar flight thrice a week.
With this, the travelling time to Bengaluru will be reduced to a little over two hours.
Local manager of IndiGo airlines Barhan Ayub said from Monday, their Chandigarh-Srinagar flight would operate at 1.30pm, while the one to Bengaluru will depart from the city around 4.30pm.
He said the aircraft from Bengaluru would be used to operate these two flights. From September 1, the flight from Bengaluru will reach Chandigarh around 1pm. Then the same flight will go to Srinagar and after landing back in the city, it will take off to Bengaluru,” he said.
So far, airlines, including Jet Airways and GoAir, have hop-in flights with halts either in Delhi or Mumbai on the Chandigarh-Bengaluru route.
Officials said the IT relations between Chandigarh and Bengaluru was the main reason why traffic was increasing on this route, forcing airlines to strengthen their operations.
A regular traveller on the route, Bhupesh Gupta said, “Bengaluru is the gateway to southern states. It is good that airlines have pushed the direct flight on this route. It will definitely save a lot of travelling time.”
Addressing mediapersons here on Tuesday, Mittu Chandilya, chief executive officer, AirAsia, said the airline would offer tickets from Chandigarh to Bengaluru at `1,900 for the first 20 customers. The price would gradually increase as bookings go up but the average price would remain in the bracket of `3,000-3,500.
“The price will definitely remain on the higher side if someone books the ticket a day before the journey. But in that case too, the flight will cost roughly between `6,000 and 6,500, still cheaper in comparison to other airlines,” Chandilya said.
The airline would be flying 180-seater Airbus 320 on this route and the travel time between these two cities will be more than two hours. It will take off from Bengaluru at 1.30pm and reach Chandigarh at 3.30pm. From here, the flight will take off every day at 4 pm.
Chandilya said the airline would spread its operation in tier-2 cities first and Chandigarh, being a gateway to the adjoining hill states, would be their top priority. The aviation industry, he observed, had a great future but it needed the government’s push to simplify regulations. The company planned to induct at least six new aircrafts, Airbus 320, by end of this year, he said.
Chandilya said the upcoming international terminal building of the local airport would further open a lot of domestic as well as international sectors from Chandigarh.
“We are keenly considering Chandigarh as our important business destination,” he said.
The airline also announced its association with Kings XI (Punjab) as sponsors to woo Punjabis.