Air India to offer cheap upgrades from economy to business

New Delhi: As part of its mandate to boost revenues through a turnaround plan, financially beleaguered flag carrier Air India has said it will try and raise additional annual revenues of Rs1,000-1,200 crore by offering cheap upgrades to business class for economy class passengers in the upcoming winter season. The upgrades will be available through the sale of coupons.

The new initiative would be launched during the winter schedule and will be available for both domestic and international travellers, airline officials said.

The upgrade vouchers have been priced in the range of Rs4,000-6,000 in the domestic sectors and $200-300 for services on the international sector.

The vouchers, which can be bought from the Air India website, counters and other designated centres, would enable an economy class passenger to upgrade to business class at the time of checking in, subject to availability of seats.

According to airline sources the carrier aims to raise business class load factor by 50 per cent.

According to market experts, Air India's average international load factor is about 60 per cent even as the domestic load factor ranges between 70-73 per cent.

Airline sources are quoted as saying that compared to last year, the carrier wishes to increase its revenues by Rs100-150 crore per month.

In an another attempt to attract passengers, Air India has decided to give mileage points through its Frequent Flyer programme to all those who book tickets on its website, apart from existing concessions already available on ticket prices.