AirAsia India triggers price war in south with Rs5 base fare

AirAsia India triggered a price war as soon as it opened bookings for the first time on Friday night, with a dramatic Rs5 (excluding taxes) promotional base fare, or an all-inclusive Rs990, for 15,000 seats on the Bangalore-Goa and Bangalore-Chennai sectors.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo responded late Friday night with its own promotional offer of Re1 tickets on the same sectors, while SpiceJet too is reported to have followed suit.

AirAsia will launch operations on 12 June with a Bangalore-Goa flight, while Bangalore-Chennai flights begin on 19 June. Adding airport taxes and fees, its Bangalore-Goa ticket would cost Rs490, while a Goa-Bangalore ticket would be even cheaper at Rs291. A Bangalore-Chennai ticket would cost Rs490 with taxes while Chennai-Bangalore will come at Rs339 under the promotional offer. The travel period validity for the promo fares is between 12 June and 25 October.

''I promised that AirAsia India will make quality travel affordable to all and that we will revolutionise the Indian aviation sector,'' said chief executive Mittu Chandilya, whose international airline code will be i5. ''The goal is to enable guests who have never flown to take this opportunity to come experience flying the AirAsia way.''

Even without the promotional offer, the airline's all-inclusive fare of Rs990 for Bangalore-Goa is way cheaper than competition.

''We want everyone to fly and this is why we are pricing it around higher class train ticket fare,'' said Chandilya.

''Goa was home for my dad. Never been. He will be happy,'' tweeted AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes.

''I would love to have a 100 per cent load factor. But 60 per cent will be reasonable,'' said Chandilya adding that the airline would have its base in both Chennai and Bangalore.

By March-end, AirAsia India plans to have a fleet of 10 aircraft and connect 10 cities. It will begin operations with a single Airbus A320 and add at least two more aircraft in the next couple of months. 

Chandilya said there would be ''hot-seats'' spread across the aircraft that offer more legroom and added comforts. ''Yes it will be costing little bit more (than the regular fares),'' he said.