Jan 30, 2009

India - Air India slashes fares on key domestic routes

NEW DELHI: With declining jet fuel prices, Air India has once again taken the lead in introducing further cuts in its fares on key domestic routes,
which may lead to another round of 'fare war' among domestic carriers, including the no-frill ones.

Under the new APEX-21 scheme, the passenger can avail of a basic fare of Rs 99. Coupled with this, he or she would have to pay Rs 225 as Passenger Service Fee of the government and a fuel surcharge of Rs 2,700. However, the travel has to be undertaken on or before February 28, an Air India spokesman said.

The scheme is effective on most of the state-owned carrier's domestic route network.

The last round of fare reduction was on December 30, when the state-owned airline had substantially slashed basic fares on 20 major sectors, averaging a reduction of over 50 per cent. Thus, on most of the Air India (Domestic) network, an air traveller can avail of a fare of Rs 3,024 inclusive of taxes.

Since October last year, fares have come down considerably and domestic carriers have again started competing with one another despite their financial health and the global meltdown.

The competitive fares and several other schemes like advance purchase (APEX) and companion-free travel on business class, which were put on hold, have been re-introduced.

The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has come down by over 50 per cent to July 2005 levels, which has given the domestic aviation industry the much-needed relief to go in for fare cuts to boost the sagging passenger traffic.

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