Keeping in mind the reduced traffic in the lean season (June-August), airlines are dropping fares by up to 40 per cent on key routes for bookings made even a week in advance. On Thursday, all airlines (except for Air India) reduced fares on key domestic routes such as Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Bangalore, Mumbai-Bangalore, among others.
A random check of fares on online portal MakeMyTrip shows that tickets on Delhi-Mumbai route starting next Thursday (July 4) are available from Rs 5,717 onwards. Till now, the seven-day advance tickets on the route were being sold at around Rs 9,200. Even the fares on the busy Monday morning flights for July 1 are being sold at around Rs 7,945.
If bookings are made 30 days and 60 days in advance, Air India, Jet Airways and GoAir flights on certain routes are available at discounts up to 50 per cent, said a senior executive at travel portal Yatra.com.
"It is not a blanket fare cut. We are offering lower fares to fill up excess capacity on certain routes, but the discounts go up to as much as 50 per cent. The whole idea is to make more passengers opt for air travel by offering rates lower than railways," said a senior Air India executive.
The government carrier is offering all-inclusive fares upwards of Rs 2,530 when booked 60 days in advance, Rs 3,181 for 30 days and Rs 3,790 for 14 days. Giorgio De Roni, CEO of GoAir, said: "Air traffic movement was good in the first half of June, demand slowed down in the second half because of the monsoons. On certain routes, we are offering tickets at half the price to boost load factors."
Jet Airways, which recorded the lowest passenger load factor of around 75 per cent among all scheduled airlines in May this year, has also announced fares starting at Rs 2,183 for travel between June and May 24 next year. While tickets are available at Rs 3,121 for travel between Delhi and Ahmedabad, fares on the Delhi-Bengaluru route stand at Rs 4,902. A passenger has to pay Rs 2,667 for travel between Mumbai and Udaipur, Rs 4,001 between Bangalore and Bhubaneswar, Rs 2,490 between Bhopal and Raipur.
Aviation sources said airlines had dropped fares since demand is lower during this period as school and colleges re-open. "With the dollar rising against the rupee, airlines' costs are increasing, but a drop in fares will reduce the revenue per flight. It is a difficult choice," said a private airline executive.