IndiGo, Air Asia join SpiceJet to offer big discounts

With the slack season for air travel approaching, India's domestic carriers have again launched their slashed-price advance purchase offers.

After SpiceJet on Tuesday launched its offer of one-way fares of Rs511 for domestic routes and Rs2,111 for international travel (excluding taxes) in a three-day anniversary sale till Thursday, AirAsia has announced that it is giving a 50-per cent off on return flights booked till Wednesday.

IndiGo, too, has dropped one-way fares to around Rs800 on routes such as Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Chandigarh, Rs924 for Goa-Mumbai, and Rs1,050 for Ahmedabad-Mumbai. IndiGo's discounted tickets are valid for travel between 4 July and 30 September.

The period from June to September is traditionally lean for travel as schools and colleges reopen. Hence, carriers are providing discounts to keep loads high. During June-September 2015, domestic carriers reported load factor of 80 per cent, compared to 75 per cent in the previous year.  Also, airlines, especially IndiGo and SpiceJet, have added aircraft and increased flights.

 SpiceJet said the discounted tickets are available for popular destinations such as Dehradun, Bagdogra, Udaipur, etc on domestic routes and Bangkok, Colombo, Dubai and Muscat on international routes. The discounted tickets are valid for domestic travel from 15 June to 30 September and for international travel from 1 June to 20 July.

''We've started seeing a surge in bookings for the 30-90 day out period, on both domestic and international routes. Stimulating advance purchase through sales like these works on various grounds. Firstly, it's an opportunity to tap the large leisure segment of customers, which is strategically an important segment. Secondly, it helps airlines get predictable loads on their flights 30 days or more in advance. This enables them to potentially garner higher yields closer to departure,'' Amit Taneja, chief revenue officer, Cleartrip, told Business Standard.

''The sale is a bit unanticipated for this time of the year and a bonanza for people who had not made any travel plans, as well as for those who prefer to travel at off-peak times. At Yatra, we have seen a big upsurge in bookings on Tuesday as the sale is open only for three days,'' said Sharat Dhall, president of Yatra.com. (SpiceJet launches 3-day sale of tickets at Rs511)