Airfare sales: Indian airlines going for each others jugulars?

Considering this is my personal blog, this could be my op-ed piece this weekend. I’ve been noticing two trends this year. Firstly, a certain red airline has been putting out a lot of fare sales across the board this year. I have lost count and I haven’t even put out all the sales on the blog but only a few of them. Have a look:

Now, India’s largest airline by marketshare, somebody I flew after 3 years last weekend, has been tracking those sales as well, and putting out their own sales at the same time, but not advertising them as well as the smaller red airline. But they do have a big database of registered customers, and everyone tends to promptly get a mailer in their mailbox on the same afternoon about a sale.

I think, or rather I speculate, that the thinking for the airline is, that if they match the smaller airlines’ sale fares, they anyways do not have to make a big show about it, and they may get to pillion ride on the smaller guys’ desperation. Another thing. For a profitable airline like theirs, to sell a few seats at a loss, does not seem to make a difference to them as they can squeeze other customers to make up for the loss. And they get to get some more customers to fill some more seats anyways.

Jet Airways and Go Air have largely sat out of this madness, apart from a few sales here and there. Which leads me to my second conclusion. I’ve noticed, everytime Jet comes into the market with a sale, the blue airline with marketshare does not want to poach customers. But when it is the small red airline, they are out there fishing to see if they can poach customers by matching fares.

Who is after whose blood here? Or are these just random observations from me?

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  1. As I say enjoy the deals while they last. I out of curiosity decided to check out the airfares to Goa for Jan 2015, knowing very well that it is the peak season for all airlines flying there and there have been instances where the 1 way fare from BOM to GOA have touched 12000 rupees for a last minute booking. So imagine my surprise when I got a round trip BOM-GOA first week of Jan 2015 for 4103 rupees only on my favorite airline that is Indigo. That is a steal working out like 2000 rupees one way. And here is the best part, the fare is refundable.

  2. I was watching the overall gloomy situation in the TV show called political capital from bloomberg on Indian aviation. One of the experts was talking about the unhealthy competition with crazy low fares on key routes, very concerning.

  3. Its evident. Its economy class airline versus another economy class airline. Red is trying to poach customers based on pricing (in spite of the fact that they’re a shame on the name of aviation, such horrendous services and operations, not to mention association with tainted individuals at management), and blue is trying to ensure people don’t get swayed away, just in case the red somehow ups its game (which is a one in a million probability, or even less). More emphasis is on the new customers who haven’t yet made loyalties.

    Premium airlines aren’t considered in this league since they’re in a league of their own – higher ticket prices, better facilities, better space, better staff (and since KF is gone, its not exactly but kind-of a monopoly in that class).

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