India’a second largest low-fare airline SpiceJet on Tuesday announced a one-way domestic fare offer, ranging from all-inclusive fares of Rs 899 to Rs 2,499 for travel between November 1, 2014, to December 15, triggering a fare war.
No sooner than the budget carrier rolled out its offer, Jet Airways announced a discounted ticket scheme starting from an all-inclusive fare of Rs 899 while Indigo announced fares between Rs 1,590 to Rs 4,999 on its domestic network.
Tickets booked under SpiceJet’s five-day ‘Diwali Dhamaka’ sale — which began on Tuesday and would be on till October 26 — are available for short distance travel between sectors like Bangalore-Chennai-Kochi. While on the Bangalore-Goa sector, a one-way ticket price would start at Rs 1,599 and for the rest of India, the starting fare would be Rs 2,499.
Considered as the peak season for air travel in India, the October-December period generally witnesses an increase in fares by 10-30 per cent each year. However, fares this year are about 20 per cent lower as compared to same period last year, according to travel portal Cleartrip.
An airline executive said that pricing has been subdued during the peak season this year due to oversupply, wherein few airlines such as Spicejet and Indigo continue to add capacity, resulting in lower occupancy in flights.
Last week, GoAir had announced a discounted ticket scheme for travel between October 21 and 30 with fares for flights from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi starting from Rs 2,510.
However, travel agents call these flash sales a gimmick.
“Post-Diwali period is a low season for airlines. Secondly, domestic carriers are facing cash flow problems so these sales are one way for them to collect money in advance. These sales are similar to the ‘up to 50 per cent discounts’ in malls, not all the clothes will have a 50 per cent discount. Similarly, just the first 10 tickets will be low-priced. Such sales are gimmicks and mislead the public.
For travel agents, these sales are an irritation as clients demand such low rates on all the tickets booked during these periods, which cannot work out,” said Karl Dantas, president of Enterprising Travel Agents Association.