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India-London Air Fares May Fall Below Rs 20 K


Sep 16, 2004
India-London air fares may fall below Rs 20 k NeeLASRI BARMAN Mumbai, January 23 [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The government’s decision allowing private domestic airlines to operate om overseas routes has already set the tone for another price war. The crucial India-London sector is likely to witness a fall of at least 25 per cent in fares, which will bring the minimum fare to below the Rs 20,000-mark. [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Currently, fares begin at Rs 26,000 and go all the way to Rs 60,000, depending on the season. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]“There will be at least a 25 per cent drop in fares on the India-London sector by September 2005 when private domestic carriers like Jet Airways and Air Sahara start their international operations”, said Cox & Kings Private Ltd global Chief Executive Officer Peter Kerkar. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Significantly, national carrier Air India already offers a round trip on this sector at a special fare of Rs 19,990. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]According to Travel Corporation of India Chief Operating Officer Jayram Ketkar, the availability of seats in this sector will increase. This will, in turn, trigger competition among the airline companies, resulting in reduced fares. “With the entry of private domestic carriers, there will be more competition in international operations. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]As a result, airline companies might resort to reducing airfares to lure travellers,” said Thomas Cook (India) Head — leisure travels, Sunil Gupta. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The tourism industry sees this as a big opportunity for the development of the country. London is a big market for the industry which has, therefore, resulted in more flights flying there. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]“The decline in fares is expected in this sector, which is good news for the consumer as well as the economy because this will also benefit exports,” said Indian Association of Tour Operators President Subhash Goyal. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Amidst all this, the government’s international carrier Air-India is getting equipped to face competition. The airline, which currently has 35 wide-bodied aircraft, is on an acquisition spree. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The airline recently announced the induction of the first of the three new generation Boeing 777ER aircarft on lease. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The other two will be inducted by March 2005. The company also has plans to acquire 50 new generation aircraft over the next four-five years. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]“We have faced competition in the past and we are prepared to face competition in the future as well with our expanded fleet-size and modernised equipment,” said Air-India Chairman and Managing Director V. Thulasidas.[/font]

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