Jet Airways cuts fares, IndiGo and GoAir join in war
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Jet Airways triggered a fresh fare-war on Tuesday as it announced a sale of 2 million seats at fares between Rs 2,250 and Rs 3,800 for travel on all its domestic routes until the end of this year, prompting rivals IndiGo and GoAir to also slash fares to similar levels on select routes.
The move comes despite concerns expressed recently by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the civil aviation ministry that fare-wars could hurt the carriers financially.
The Jet Airways offer is seen as an attempt to regain market share and its discounted tickets are available until February 24, the airline said. While GoAir and IndiGo — India's largest airline in terms of number of passengers flown — sought to match Jet, SpiceJet, the other budget carrier, did not join them.
"IndiGo and GoAir have responded to the offer by bringing down their fares to the same range in certain sectors and on some flights," said a travel industry executive. "In a sector with four flights, they have reduced fares in only two and the rest are selling at normal fares."
Efforts to get an official comment from GoAir and IndiGo were not successful.
Last month, SpiceJet had offered one million tickets at Rs 2,013 for one-way travel between February and April. The offer had raised concerns at the DGCA, which had advised airlines to avoid fare-wars as that would "hurt" them financially.
The civil aviation ministry was also reported to be working on fixing a lower-limit for fares to ensure airlines don't bleed themselves.
"We are not in the business of regulating fares and would not like to interfere in the offers. Our reservations on excessively low fares are out of concern for the players and not to regulate the sector," a top civil aviation ministry official said when reached for comment on Tuesday.