Air India capitalises on Kingfisher troubles

New Delhi: With private carrier Kingfisher Airlines' operations in disarray, national carrier Air India is making hay while the sun shines. Its bookings have shot up almost 50% over the last 15 days even as Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher cancelled hundreds of flights.

Kingfisher's flight cancellations, before the holiday season really kicks off, has raised fares by 20% and travel industry sources say these are likely to go up further even as Kingfisher extends flight cancellations by a month till mid-December.

According to industry sources, Air India has benefited the most from Kingfisher's troubles, more than IndiGo and Jet Airways. IndiGo bookings are up 25%, while Jet's are higher by about 15% on a month-on-month basis, travel agents say.

According to these agents, Air India's discounts are helping boost load factors on its services.  What is also going in Air India's favour is that it has the maximum metro-to-metro connectivity amongst all airlines.

According to Air India sources, the airline carried 4.23 lakh passengers between 1-14 November, as against 3.83 lakh for the same period in October.

On Tuesday, Kingfisher intimated to travel agents that flight cancellations would be extended to mid-December, from the earlier date of 19 November.