SpiceJet, IndiGo slash ticket prices in pre-summer sale
The website of SpiceJet Ltd, India's second-largest low-fare airline, crashed hours after it launched its pre-summer sale on Tuesday, which offered fares starting at Rs.599 for all its non-stop flights across its domestic network between 1 March and 13 April.
"Sorry! Our online booking site is currently experiencing heavy traffic. Please try again later," the SpiceJet website read. The Spicejet Android app was, however, working. The airlines announced the sale on Monday. The three-day sale launched on Tuesday is supposed to remain open till midnight, 25 February. This flash sale is offering nearly 50% discount on tickets to stimulate demand for the lean season. A typical Mumbai-Kochi one-way ticket was available after paying all charges at Rs.2,300 under the pre-summer sale against a normal fare of Rs.3,500-Rs.4,000 on lower buckets, according to travel agents.
February to April is considered the lean season for domestic flying before the peak of May to July when schools close for summer vacations.
India's local airlines carried 81.09 million passengers in 2015, as against 67.38 million in the previous year, registering a growth of 20.3%, owing to low fares and more flights. Shilpa Bhatia, senior vice-president (commercial) at SpiceJet, said pre-summer sale is best suited for travellers who prefer off-season travel to save costs and avoid tourist rush.
"Tickets under this offer are refundable (only statutory taxes will be refunded) though changeable with a change fee and fare difference. There is limited inventory under the offer, and seats will be available on first-come-first-served basis," the airline said. SpiceJet operates 293 daily flights to 40 destinations, including 34 domestic and six international ones. Air travellers continue to benefit from rock-bottom ticket prices as fares in India show there has been a notable decline over the past decade.
The current air fare is 66% lower than it was in 2005, according to a study released in December by International Air Transport Association, a lobby group that represents nearly 260 airlines, comprises 83% of global air traffic. India's largest airline IndiGo, run by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, has also joined the bandwagon of discounting tickets. "Book till 25 February for travel between 1 March to 13 April 2016 and enjoy unbelievable low fares starting Rs.737," IndiGo said on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Jet Airways (India) Ltd announced special offers on economy and business class fares for passengers travelling on the airline's international network.
The seven-day sale, effective from 23 February to 29 February is valid for travel from 10 March, onwards on all Jet Airways' direct flights, and Jet Airways' flights aligned with strategic partner Etihad Airways PJSC. "The offer allows flyers to avail substantial savings of up to 30% when booking to travel on board Jet Airways' operated international flights from India to destinations across the airline's global network. The offer is extended to Jet Airways' flights operated in conjunction with Etihad Airways, over the UAE national carrier's Abu Dhabi gateway," Jet Airways said.