The Indian aviation market is getting hotter by the day. With AirAsia set to bring in its expertise on offering the lowest air fare to the Indian skies, the existing domestic players are trying their level best to grab and consolidate their market positions. Close on the heels of SpiceJet offering cheap air tickets, the government owned carrier, Air India, is now offering yet another round of low cost tickets on advance booking of domestic flights, 60 days in advance. A few months before as well, the carrier offered a similar discount on advance booking.
Air India was the dominant player some years back, holding the largest market share of the aviation market. However, as the private players consolidated their positions, the market share of Air India slipped paving way for the private carriers such as IndiGo, Jet and SpiceJet to make a sizeable foray. The private players, based essentially on the LCC model of operation in the domestic and close-by international destinations, changed the aviation game by offering the lowest air fare on routes and providing no-frills services but compensating the passengers with their efficient operations and on-time performance record. As AirAsia, backed up by Tatas, are expected to enter the fray, Air India, which has a rather dubious distinction of providing customer-oriented services, is bracing itself up by offering the discounted prices on air tickets.
The latest scheme will make it possible to fly at close to Rs 4000 per ticket for Delhi-Mumbai sector and about Rs 2500 on the Delhi-Lucknow sector, competing effectively with the railway A/c tickets prices. Precisely how beneficial will this scheme be and how much of market share will be impacted by this offer which comes with the rider of 60 days advance reservation, remains to be seen.