Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Mar 01, 2004
Air India, Indian Airlines cut fares on Gulf-Kerala sector
Abu Dhabi , Feb. 29
AIR India and Indian Airlines have decided to cut fares from the Gulf to Kerala by 5 to 18 per cent by passing on to passengers the benefit of the withdrawal of sales tax on ATF by the Kerala Government from April 1.
Air India and Indian Airlines on Sunday announced that due to added capacity on the Gulf-Kerala routes and increased direct flights from Kerala, the airlines have been able to rationalise costs, the benefit of which is also being passed on to the passengers.
The Air India Regional Director (Gulf and West Asia), Capt P.P. Singh, and the Regional Manager, Indian Airlines, Mr R.C. Kathuria, said in Dubai that the fare reduction ranges from 5 to 18 per cent.
Passenger fares from Kerala to Gulf points were also being reduced to correspond with the abolition of the sales tax. Details of these fares would be announced in Kerala, they said. Further, in view of the sizeable import of perishables from Kerala to the Gulf, the cargo tariff ex-Kerala to the Gulf has also been cut.
The move would help meet a long-pending demand by Gulf-based NRIs from Kerala who have been urging the carriers for several years to reduce fares on the lucrative sector.
The officials said that the fares during the lean, shoulder (6-7 weeks) and peak (three weeks) seasons during the year have been reduced by 5 per cent. For instance, the return fares from Dubai to Kerala would now be Dh 1,520 (for lean), Dh 1,900 (for shoulder) and Dh 2,280 for the peak season, compared with Dh 1,600, Dh 2,000 and Dh 2,400, respectively, in the last financial year.
Further, as an incentive to passengers to book in advance, a special fare has been introduced on peak-period tickets that are purchased 21 days in advance. From Dubai to Kerala, an advanced purchase return fare of Dh 1,995 has been introduced in the peak period, which is a discount of 17 per cent on the peak fare of last year, which was Dh 2,400.
The advance purchase fares from Jeddah to Kerala have been reduced to SAR 2,100 in the lean and SAR 2,355 in the peak an 18 per cent off. The one-way fare has also been reduced by 13 per cent.
Fares from Kuwait will also witness a marginal reduction.
Approval for the reduction is being sought from the governments in Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, where fares are controlled by the civil aviation authorities and national carriers, the airline officials said.
Mr Kathuria said since IA mainly flies out of Sharjah, there could be a possibility of a further drop in fares on some routes to Kerala.
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