Air India lowers business class fares for Dubai by 25 per cent

Mumbai: Flag carrier Air India has slashed business class fares on the India-Dubai route by 25 per cent for a period of month, between 15 August -15 September, even as India's largest private carrier Jet Airways prepares to launch daily Mumbai/New Delhi-Dubai services from from 23 August.

Air India's return business class air fare on the route is now available at Rs33,184, including taxes, down from Rs44,195. This compares to Jet's introductory business class return fare of Rs35,238,  including taxes. Both these offerings compare to Emirates' offering of Rs86,712.

Travel agencies expect fares to be lowered all round as carriers adjust to competition. Agencies also expect Air India to extend these lowered fares beyond 15 September. They also suggest that Air India may well lower economy class fares on the route by 10-15 per cent.

With an annual traffic load of 2.5 million passengers the India-Dubai sector is a lucrative route for both Emirates and Air India. The sector continues to grow 15-20 per cent on an annual basis.

Once launched Dubai will be Jet Airways' 20th international and sixth West Asian destination. The carrier currently operates daily services to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Muscat and Doha in West Asia from various Indian cities.

Dubai is not only an affordable destination but also just a short flight from any point in India. Last year Dubai received more than 400,000 Indian tourists and the numbers are expected to go up 20 per cent this year. Cheap air fares would only help boost numbers, industry sources said.