Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jul 20, 2004
Logistics - Airlines
Marketing - Strategy
Air Sahara unveils `SurPrice' fares Offers 69 pc discount on major routes
New Delhi , July 19
IN an effort to stimulate the domestic air travel market, Air Sahara on Monday announced `SurPrice' fares.
Air Sahara has offered rebates up to 69 per cent of the normal return air fare on sectors such as Delhi-Chennai-Delhi, Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi and Delhi-Bangalore-Delhi, provided the booking is made 30 days before travel.
Under the scheme, the airline is offering a return ticket on the Delhi-Bangalore or Delhi-Chennai sectors for Rs 6,666, while a passenger purchasing a return ticket on the Delhi-Hyderabad sector will be charged Rs 5,555.
Similarly, a passenger travelling on the Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi sector will be charged Rs 4,444, while those doing a return journey on the Mumbai-Kolkata, Bangalore-Kolkata and Kolkata-Chennai sector will be charged Rs 6,666.
However, a passenger availing himself of the ticket will have to spend at least one Sunday at the destination to which they are travelling and the maximum stay permitted is 90 days.
"The scheme, which is targeted at the leisure traveller, is here to stay although every season there may be a shift in fares which could be both lower or even higher than the existing fares. But this is not a gimmickry programme. We think there is a lot of room for growth, especially in the segment that is travelling by second-class air-conditioned coaches on trains," the newly appointed President of Air Sahara, Mr Rono J. Dutta, said.
Mr Dutta said that the latest move had nothing to do with what competing airlines were planning or already had in the market. "Our move is revenue positive. We are focussing on what the customer wants. In the US, the real growth happened when airlines were able to convert those travelling by cars into air passengers. Here, we are trying to convert the train passengers to air passengers," he said.
Incidentally, the airline has announced its new pricing policy days after the low-cost airline, Air Deccan, announced its decision to offer fares as low as Rs 500 on the trunk routes.
However, the Air Sahara move could put pressure on both Jet Airways and Indian Airlines (IA). While Jet Airways has a 30-day advance purchase scheme, the fares are much higher. A passenger booking 30 days in advance and travelling one-way on the Delhi-Mumbai sector would be charged Rs 3,450 while Air Sahara now plans to offer a return ticket to a passenger on the same sector for Rs 4,444.
Although, IA does not have a 30-day advance booking fare, its 21-day advance booking one-way fare on the Delhi-Chennai sector is priced at Rs 4,260.
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