The badly bruised Air India
(AI) is now gradually achieving normalcy in operations
by offering special fares to woo flyers.
The airline is dumping its inventory in the lowest slab so that maximum passengers grab the offer. The special fare offer is on till May 12 and travel is valid for a month.
The lowest slab basic fare for the Mumbai-Delhi trunk route on short notice comes for as low as Rs 453 though passengers would need to shell out additional amounts towards fuel surcharge and taxes as charged by airlines.
Most of the low fares are getting sold out as the fares are competitive.
For example, a Mumbai-Delhi AI ticket for onward travel on May 12 and return on May 13 costs Rs 12,670 while it costs Rs 12,528 on Jet Airways Konnect, the low-fare arm of Jet Airways. Air India is a full service airline.
Similarly, in the non-peak Mumbai-Bhubaneswar sector an AI ticket for onward travel on May 14 and return on May 16 costs Rs 13,880. This is compared to Rs 12,648 charged by Kingfisher Red, the low-cost arm of Kingfisher Airlines.
According to analysts these are teaser fares and value for money because the airline is desperate to build volumes as the pipeline has almost dried up.
Some of the advance purchase schemes are pretty attractive and are 10 per cent cheaper than other airlines according to travel agents. Air India officials could not quantify the discount and insisted that the fares were competitive.
"Air India is not offering any major discounts but its lowest slab is attractive and so people are booking. It is advisable for passengers to avail this offer before seats get sold out," said Ankur Bhatia, managing director (MD), Amadeus India, the largest online reservation system.
"From last Monday till this Monday there has been a 10 per cent increase in domestic online bookings. Though we don't have the airline-wise break-up, I believe the increase is due to opening of bookings by Air India," Bhatia added.
The domestic operation was virtually crippled due to the 10-day pilots strike.
The airline which reopened bookings on Sunday announced route specific special fares and passengers seem to be grabbing the offersCourtesy: Mail Today