Premier class or executive class domestic travel has gone down by a whopping 25 to 30 per cent in the pat quarter as down turn in the economy coupled with high air fare has not augured well for the airline industry.
Airlines say there is a discernable drop in premier class travel mainly because those entitled to travel business class are either opting for the cheaper economy class or conducting business through video conferencing to cut costs.
Till recently, the premier class, the domain of rich and famous was considered cash cow for any airline as these tickets are usually about 125 per cent more expensive than an economy class ticket on any domestic sector. There has been a significant, 35 to 40 per cent, fall in air travel across the country.
“Yes, our premier class occupancy has gone down. This mainly because corporate travel has gone down sharply. But I would not want to put a number as we are still assessing the impact,” a Jet Airways official said.
Airlines across the country offer nearly 5,000 per day in the premier class and when the going was good airlines recorded 100 per cent occupancy.
“Earlier CEOs along with their top brass were entitled premier class travel, but now only CEOs are allowed and that is the reason why premier class occupancy has seen a sharp dip,” said Mark Martin, senior consultant with KPMG.
“Till recently our executive class clocked 100 per cent occupancy, but the downturn in the global economy has led to a significant drop in the passenger traffic in this class,” an Air India official who did not wish to be quoted said.