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AI's discount bonanza extended till May 19

National carrier Air India today extended its promotional scheme of 50% off on tickets till May 19, as the airline, recovering from a crippling pilots' strike, registered around 90% bookings.

india Updated: May 12, 2011 20:41 IST

National carrier Air India on Thursday extended its promotional scheme of 50% off on tickets till May 19, as the airline, recovering from a crippling pilots' strike, registered around 90% bookings.

"Air India's short term 'promotional fares offer' for travel in economy class on its domestic network have been extended till May 19," said the airline in a statement, adding that the reduced airfare are available on 107 sectors.

The promotional scheme was introduced after a crippling pilots' strike grounded nearly 90% of its flights for 10 days.

"The offer is a huge hit. We have nearly 100% bookings on nearly all sectors. And as a very special gesture we took this step," a senior Air India official told IANS. Earlier the offer, which was supposed to run till midnight on Thursday, would have been followed by another low fare offer under which passengers were to be given a 20% rebate.

The special fares are available to 23 cities from Delhi and 11 destinations from Mumbai.

The airline said it operated nearly all of its daily schedule of 225 domestic flights under the Air India brand and 100 odd flights of its sister concern Alliance Air. Overall, the airline on Tuesday operated 460 flights - the balance on the international sector, which was not affected by the strike.

"We are operating nearly all of our 225 flights meant for domestic routes," the official said.

The carrier is using its Airbus A320 family aircraft and propeller driven ATR aircraft with seat utilisation of around 80%, on the major trunk routes connecting the four metros.

The airline had earlier deployed wide bodied aircrafts between the metros, to offer more seats under its plan to come out of the effects of the pilots' strike, which cost the airline Rs 150 crore and resulted in the cancellation of 1,600 flights.

"Our plan is to increase ticket sales revenue and make up for the lost time we had to endure during the peak summer travel season," the official said.

On Sunday, Air India had published advertisements in various national dailies thanking passengers for bearing with it during the strike and notified them of the new fares on the offer.