Air India joined the low airfare war, offering nearly 50% discounts on tickets bought at least 60 days in advance.
The scheme, which was launched on Wednesday, is along the lines of similar offers floated by two other domestic airlines earlier this year.
The fares offered are competitive with AC fares on long-distance trains. For instance, an economy class one-way fare from Mumbai to Delhi that costs approximately Rs7,000 was priced at an Rs3,981 (all-inclusive).
“Considering this is the time people start booking tickets for their vacations, the offer will be beneficial for consumers planning to travel during the holiday season. The attractive fares will also entice first-time air travellers,” said Vikram Malhi, country head of travel portal Expedia (India).
Although no link for the scheme was available on the AI website until late evening on Wednesday, airline officials said a dedicated link would be made available soon.
No-frills carrier Spicejet Airlines started the wave when it offered 10 lakh-discounted tickets at similar fares in January. They were shortly followed by Jet Airways, which sold 20 lakh such tickets in February.
Travel experts said that since airfares normally shoot up during the summer months, the longest holiday season, such schemes would bring relief to travellers. “Airfares in 2012 were approximately 30% higher than the previous year. This discouraged many people from flying,” said a Colaba-based travel agent requesting anonymity.