minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav had some good news for the
Indian population in this year's Railway Budget. He announced
an 18 per cent cut in 1st class AC, and a 10 per cent
cut in 2nd class AC passenger fares. He also said that
55 new trains will be launched in the next fiscal.
he said that there will be no increase in passenger and
freight rates. Since the past one-year low-cost airlines
have been in action, and have tried to offer travellers
attractive prices, so as to give them a better and time
saving alternative to railways.
the Railway Minister may have made passengers happy with
the decision to cut fares, low-cost airlines may take
the hit, as they will now be compelled to realign their
prices with those of the railways.
the managements of these low-cost airline carriers have
a different story to tell.
at Spice Jet, Ajay Singh claims that there will
be no negative impact of passenger fare cuts on them.
says, "We do not think that people will move to railways
from airlines like ours. The Railway Minister's move today
is very welcome. The cut in fares will stimulate the travel
market on the whole. Many more people will start travelling."
adds that, they will align their fares with that of railways.
"This is something we have always done and we will
continue to do this. So if they drop 2nd AC or 1st AC
fares, we will try and respond to that by keeping our
fares competitive," says Singh.
addition he says that airlines have an added advantage
of saving time, "We can take passengers from Delhi
to Chennai in two hours versus the 36 hours taken by a
train. We take passengers from Delhi to Mumbai in less
than two hours."
of Deccan Air, Captain Gopinath, asserts that they
will not bring down their fares following the rail fare
says, "Railways will never be able to bring down
the travelling time. They can only bring down fares. We
are not going to bring down the fares any further only
because railways have brought it down. So we continue
to focus on improving our efficiency and bring down costs."
is still confident that people would not mind paying extra
for air travel. He says, "Since people save time
with air travel, I don't think people would mind paying
25-30 per cent more and travel by air."
to Jeh Wadia, managing director of GoAir, "At
GoAir we remain committed to making flying affordable
to all Indians. Pricing is dynamic in this industry and
we will price our flights based on our competition
both other airlines as well as other means of transport
like the railways."
the fare tussle between railways and low-cost airlines
continues, the traveller seems to be the ultimate winner.