AirAsia, Emirates follow Indian example; slash advance fares

Perhaps taking a cue from Indian domestic carriers which earlier this week slashed prices on 'early bird' bookings by up to 50 per cent to fill up seats in the lean season of February-March, two foreign carriers - Emirates Airways and AirAsia - have followed suit for travellers to and from India.

Delaying the advance booking window for the discounted fares may be a clever ploy by the two airlines, as all the Indian carriers like SpiceJet, GoAir, Indigo, Air India and Jet Airways have already closed their advance booking slot for cheap tickets. (See: Bonanza for fliers as airlines slash advance booking rates 50%)

Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Airlines announced special fares starting at Rs41,867 for economy and Rs1.14 lakh for business class from India to Europe, Africa and South America for Indian travellers. Malaysia-based AirAsia too rolled out similar offers.

Emirates said its offer is part of India's Republic Day celebrations and commences from Friday. It is valid for travel up to 10 April.

AirAsia announced all-inclusive fares of low as Rs4,000 from Kochi, Kolkata and Tiruchirappalli to Kuala Lumpur and called its special offer 'Valentine Day' fares.

As part of the discounted fares offer, travel from Chennai and Bangalore to Kuala Lumpur will now cost only Rs6,499 inclusive of taxes, the airline said in a release.

''Explore romantic honeymoon destinations such as Johor Bahru, Kuala Terengganu, Penang, Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur for all-inclusive fare of just Rs724,'' the AirAsia release said, adding that the bookings under the offer can be made from February 2 for travel up to July 31.