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40% off on last-minute Air India bookings: Domestic fliers rush to avail offer

This move is aimed at passengers travelling for emergency purposes who end up paying high ticket prices

mumbai Updated: May 12, 2019 23:28 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Air India
Air India is offering massive discounts on last-minute flight ticket purchases(HT Photo)

National carrier Air India (AI) that commenced its 40% discount scheme on domestic tickets booked three hours prior to departure, recorded bookings on 25 flights on Saturday, the first day of the scheme. This move is aimed at passengers travelling for emergency purposes who end up paying high ticket prices while booking at the last minute. Airline sources said the discount scheme will also improve AI’s passenger load capacity which is currently 82%.

Some flights that saw last-minute bookings on Saturday include the AI 635- Mumbai to Indore, AI 678- Delhi to Mumbai, AI 676- Kolkata to Mumbai, and AI 626- Lucknow to Mumbai.

Under the scheme, a Mumbai-Indore flight that costs ₹4,000 will be available for ₹3,400 if booked three hours prior to its departure. Similarly, a Kolkata-Mumbai flight that is available for ₹6,000 will be available for ₹3,600. Airline officials said a majority of the flights that were booked during the three-hour period, originated from Delhi.

“A last-minute traveller, as per aviation market algorithms, has to pay 40% above normal fares. As a national carrier, we don’t want to earn money off anyone’s crisis. Such high prices are a deterrent and therefore, the national carrier launched this scheme,” said Dhananjay Kumar, Air India spokesperson.

A senior airline official explained that this offer will also help the carrier fill up vacant seats. “Seating capacity of the airline is around 65,000 per day and 6,000 to 10,000 seats remain vacant daily. Our aim is to fill these seats that can increase the revenue and help last-minute passengers,” he said on condition of anonymity.

The decision to sell tickets at a 40% discount was taken during a commercial meeting at the airline’s headquarters in Delhi on Friday. Tickets can now be purchased from all outlets including Air India booking counters, the airline website, and travel agents.

Air India has a debt burden of around ₹55,000 crore. In a letter dated April 1, to the airline chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani, the aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said the principal secretary to the prime minister has asked to speed up the process of disinvestment of Air India subsidiaries Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL), Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), and Airline Allied Services Limited (AASL).

First Published: May 12, 2019 23:28 IST