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Airlines slashing fares to woo passengers

As airlines are facing a lean season after New Year, they are offering attractive offers to lure passengers to travel during this period.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2008 17:05 IST

With the lean season for air travel getting under way post New Year, all airlines are busy announcing offers to lure passengers to travel during this period.

If you want to fly around in India, this is the time. Despite the steep losses they are suffering, domestic airlines are continuing to offer cheap tickets, almost at throwaway prices.

With the lean season for air travel getting under way post-New Year, all airlines are busy announcing offers to lure passengers to travel during this period, which will go on till March-end.

The Wadia group promoted GoAir has already announced a flat fare of Rs 1,075 on the Delhi-Jaipur-Delhi sector as part of its new pricing strategy.

"The airline is offering tickets at a flat fare of Rs 1,075, including all taxes and surcharges, for passengers flying this sector," GoAir managing director Jeh Wadia told IANS.

Not far behind is Deccan with its "fly more to fly free" offer. According to Deccan's officiating CEO Ramki Sundaram, passengers flying by Deccan six times are entitled to a free one-way ticket, and passengers flying 10 times will receive two free one-way tickets for any of its 63 destinations.

"Deccan's new look and value additions have received an overwhelming response from Indian travellers. The 'fly more to fly free offer' will provide our frequent fliers one more reason to choose Deccan," said Sundaram.

The offer is valid for bookings and travel from Jan 15 to March 31.

Apart from the budget airlines, even full service carriers like Jet Airways and Air India have joined the bandwagon to exploit the lean season business.

A Jet Airways spokesperson said: "At the moment we are offering 'weekend special fares' and '45 days advance fares' for as low as Rs 500 in the economy class."

Under the scheme on offer, the passengers can book flights on domestic routes before the travel date and the journey should be undertaken by June 2008.

Even state-owned Air India is not shying from giving discounts. On certain sectors, it is offering tickets at throwaway prices till Jan 20.

But Vijay Mallya, chairman and CEO of Kingfisher Airlines, is refusing to jump onto the discount bandwagon.

"We are not here to drop fares. We are charging the highest fares in the country and have the highest yield at Rs.4,200. All airlines are bleeding by offering tickets at throwaway prices," Mallya told IANS.

An industry analyst said: "Essentially, these (cheap fares) are tactics to stimulate the passengers to travel more or probably push forward some travel activities.

"The January-March season is a low one for most airlines on account of examinations and poor foreign tourist arrivals. Therefore, the airlines are selling seats in advance by offering cheaper fares."