Jet Air offers 20 lakh seats at flat Rs2,250

Jet Airways, India's second-largest carrier by passengers after state-owned Air India, has put 20 lakh seats on sale at flat Rs2,250 each for travel any time up to 31 December this year. These tickets however must be booked by 24 February.

"Experience India's biggest air ticket sale with 20 lakh seats on over 450 daily flights across 57 cities within India," Jet Air said on its website. A few minutes after the announcement, the company's website crashed and remained unavailable for customers.

Fares which typically start at Rs6,000-7,000 for one way have been reduced to Rs2,250 during sale period.

With this initiative, the airline is likely to improve cash flows by Rs450 crore on account of advance bookings, which are expected to reach epic proportions. Travel agents assert that going by trends, there are at least 30 per cent cancellations by customers who indulge in impulsive buying only to cancel bookings later. However, as a policy, airlines do not refund money on tickets purchased under special offers.

Last month, rival carrier SpiceJet had announced the sale of 10 lakh seats at Rs2,013 for travel between February and April, after which the Directorate General of Civil Aviation asked other airlines to not follow suit as it would hurt their financials.

However, Jet Air has taken the plunge and doubled the number of seats and it is still unclear whether other airlines would also join the race.

Airfares were high throughout 2012 due to the poor operations and subsequent grounding of Kingfisher Airlines caused passengers to opt out of air travel, leading to negative growth in traffic for the first time since 2009.