New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government's decision to ban old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 has affected the aviation sector with the sale of air tickets declining by 10 percent.
In order to cope up with the decline in the airline bookings after the government's demonetisation move, several domestic passenger carriers have slashed the airfares and offered special discounts for a limited period.
Several domestic airlines made surprise announcements in this regard on Tuesday and Wednesday, which assumes significance as they have been made during the peak travel season.
"Airlines have reported a short term drop in ticket sales post the demonetisation announced by the government last week, and this could be an attempt to catalyse demand and bring travellers back to the market," said Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer (B2C) of Yatra.com. Here is what some popular airlines offered.
Jet Airways: On Wednesday, airline major Jet Airways announced its winter sale with all-inclusive fares starting at Rs 1,099, on select sectors across its domestic network.
"The four-day fare sale - from November 16-19, 2016, will be valid on economy fares and applicable for travel 15 days post the date of booking, on specific domestic destinations on the Jet Airways network," the airline said in a statement.
AirAsia: Low cost carrier (LCC) AirAsia India announced - "end-of-year Big Sale" - from November 14-20 for its domestic, as well as, international network. According to the LCC, passengers will be able to explore domestic destinations with fares starting as low as Rs 999 and international destinations from Rs 3,399 for the travel period May 1, 2017, to February 6, 2018.
SpiceJet: Low-cost carrier SpiceJet had launched an all-inclusive one-way fare of Rs 737 on several routes covering distances up to 500 km. Tickets that can be booked up to Thursday are valid for travel between January and October 2017.
IndiGo: Market leader IndiGo is offering fares of Rs 1,048 on certain routes such as Jammu-Srinagar, Delhi-Jaipur, and Lucknow-Delhi.
Commenting on the surprise announcement by airlines, John Nair, head, business travel, Cox & Kings said, "The discounts in airfare during the peak holiday season enables customers to reduce their holiday costs by at least 25 per cent and encourages those who have put off their travel plans to reconsider the same."
“Overall, sales are down by up to 10 per cent. Small agents used to have customers paying in cash and that channel is impacted,” said SpiceJet spokesperson Ajay Jasra.
As per Manmeet Ahuwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia in India, the sale will help airline passengers book their travel last minute for this winter, new year as well as help those planning their vacation for next summer.
Airlines offer special fares during the lean seasons to stimulate demand and increase load factors. The periods between January-March and July-September are considered to be lean travel seasons. However, the discounted fares during peak seasons might enable the passengers to cut down their cost of travel as well as reconsider their vacation plans.