Asian airlines woo with freebies while Europe ebbs | india | Hindustan Times
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Asian airlines woo with freebies while Europe ebbs

india Updated: May 19, 2010 20:32 IST
Lalatendu Mishra
Lalatendu Mishra
Hindustan Times
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At a time when western carriers are bogged by the Iceland volcanic ash problem, Asian airlines have lined up freebies and unique travel offerings to entice families to plan holidays and enhance their flights’ load factor.

Some offers include 10 lakh free seats by AirAsia, Emirates flying kids free of cost in a package, Jet Airways selling air tickets through EMI and Etihad Airways easing Visa procedures.

Malaysia’s AirAsia recently introduced low-cost flights to nine destinations in India from Kuala Lumpur, and hopes to make an impact with its offer.

Passengers need to book before May 23 by paying only airport tax as low as Rs 2,490, for flights between January 3 and May 8, 2011.

“Guests can plan and book flights for their next year’s travel and take advantage,” said Kathleen Tan, Regional Head of Commercial, AirAsia.

Jet Airways has got into an arrangement with SBI Cards so that passengers can pay for tickets in six installment scheme at zero per cent interest.

With competition intensifying in the Gulf sector since Jet and Kingfisher entered the fray, carriers from the region have lined up new initiatives.

Etihad Airways has launched a new online visa service for all its passengers traveling to UAE from India. Emirates has offered to fly two children up to the age of 16 free of cost when accompanied by two paying adults.

“Growth is there. But every one wants more growth and this is why airlines are making so many offers. AirAsia has created lot of capacity and wants to grab attention with the offer,” said Ankur Bhatia, managing director, Amadeus India.

Officials from Indian carriers said their bookings would not be affected so much as very limited free seats are on offer and the market is growing.