Passengers, who shunned air travel due to rising fares, are in for some good news. With the number of empty seats increasing by leaps and bounds, airlines are devising strategies to win back passengers.
Airlines are now offering advanced purchase schemes or apex fares in a major way. Earlier this month, Jet Airways, JetLite, SpiceJet offered apex fares 21 days and 14 days prior to the date of departure.
“Bookings have improved by 10 to 15 per cent, said Raj Shivakumar, vice president (revenue management), Jet Airways and JetLite. “It is important to lure back a large section of passengers who have looked at alternate modes of transport.” Apex fares offered by airlines like Jet Airways are 40 to 50 per cent cheaper than regular fares.
“Fares have become less expensive over the last week or two especially with advance purchase in the Delhi-Mumbai sector,” said Bruce Ashby, CEO, IndiGo.
SpiceJet has offered a zero-fare scheme for defence staff. “Through this scheme, we want to reach out to more then 15 lakh personnel who can fly by only paying taxes, said Parthasarathi Basu, CFO, SpiceJet. “This will help in expansion.”
Air India is offering the maximum number of such schemes, which include desh videsh desh (miles point redemption) scheme, super-saver scheme for corporates, bulk purchase scheme for individuals, common fares in long-route hopping flights and dedicated holiday purchase scheme for travellers.
Around 400 holiday packages have been sold in 150 cities. “All these measures have helped us in improving the load in the lean season,” an Air India executive said.