Air travel is no longer just faster than top-end overnight train rides; it is also cheaper, claims a study that compared air ticket prices with the fares of air conditioned (AC) first class seats in trains during September and October.
A report released by travel portal MakeMyTrip on Saturday compared air fare prices with that of AC first class trains across at least 18 domestic routes.
On an average, train travellers spent Rs4,100 per ticket for a Mumbai-Delhi trip as compared the Rs3,400 that fliers spent on each ticket, stated the report. The trend was observed in seven out of the 12 routes that were compared in the above-1,000 kilometre (km) category.
The report also claimed that for distances between 500km and 1,000km, air fares were 5% higher than that of the long distance trains. But for shorter trips (within 500kms) train rides were 30% cheaper.
“The air travel market in India has grown rapidly over the last year due to lower airfares, increased seat capacity and the expansion of the Indian economy resulting in higher disposable incomes,” said Rajesh Magow, chief executive officer of MakeMyTrip.
He added, “Last year, while we have seen travellers take advantage of low fares if booked in advance in general, airlines flash sale from time to time also offered interesting low fare opportunities for people even when they did not have the trips planned in advance.”
The report also showed that domestic air travel in India was considerably cheaper than domestic air fare charges in Europe and the US.
For instance, the average one-way economy class fare for Mumbai-Kolkata (1,967 km) was Rs6,501. But a shorter distance flight from Amsterdam to Rome (1,647km) was priced at Rs7,128. The difference in fares was for flights booked up to six days ahead of the journey. On an average, long distance flights (above 1,000 km) in India were 58% cheaper than those in Europe, the study added. When compared with the US, Indian domestic fares for mid-haul routes (500 km to 1000km) were 62% cheaper and short haul routes ( within 500km) were 90% cheaper, the report added.