New Delhi: In a bid to cash in on upcoming summer holiday season, low-cost carriers SpiceJet and IndiGo today launched the fourth round of price war in the bleeding aviation sector, offering massive discounts on tickets.
The cash-strapped airlines are offering the discounted fares on select routes under 'super Holi sales' and 'flash sales' schemes.
While SpiceJet confirmed the new scheme, wherein it is offering tickets as low as Rs.1,999 on select routes and on limited capacity, the offer by the industry leader IndiGo could be not verified. However, travel portals said the latter is offering up to 30 per cent discounts from its "flash sale" for the next five days.
Gurgaon-based SpiceJet, announcing its 'Super Holi Sale', said "its fares start at Rs.1,999 (all-inclusive) on select routes for travel between April 14 and June 30 during the five-day sale starting tomorrow through March 16".
This is the fourth price war in the aviation sector, where most players are reeling under heavy debt, this year.
In the second week of January and twice in February, all the leading airlines had launched cheap fares, slashing fares up to 75 per cent on advance bookings. All the three price wars were initiated by SpiceJet and promptly followed by others like IndiGo, Jet, Air India.
"All-inclusive fares start from Rs.1,999 on select routes and flights. Lowest fares are for bookings made 90 days prior to travel, and all bookings under this offer require minimum 30 days advance purchase," SpiceJet said in a late evening statement.
Under the offer, one can grab a ticket on the Delhi- Chandigarh sector for Rs.1,999, Hyderabad-Cochin at Rs.2,999, and Amritsar-Mumbai at Rs.3,999 (all-inclusive).
SpiceJet has been facing fund crunch for quite some time now, and had posted a net loss of Rs.172 crore in the December quarter. IndiGo numbers are not publicly available as it is privately held.
Rajesh Magow, co-founder and CEO of leading travel and hotel booking portal MakeMyTrip.com, said, "SpiceJet and IndiGo today announced 'flash sales' on 30-90 day advance purchase window. With travel-period falling in the summer holiday months, this is a good opportunity for travellers who couldn't get discounted airfares last time.
"We expect ticket sales to rise and a few more players to join in as summer holiday travel demand continues to be fuelled by these promotional fares," he said.
Another ticketing and travel portal Ezeego1.com, promoted by Thomas Cook India, said this is a great opportunity for flyers in the forthcoming holiday season.
"The advance purchase fares are a huge incentive for travellers to plan their travel early. It is a great opportunity for passengers to reduce their travel cost by almost 30 per cent if one books at least 90 days in advance," Ezeego1 Chief Operating Officer Neelu Singh said.
The SpiceJet offer is exclusively for domestic direct flights. These tickets could be booked on its website, other ticketing portals and through agents, the airline said.
However, the offer is not applicable for bookings made at the airline's call centre and airport ticketing counters, and can't be combined with other schemes.
"SpiceJet remains committed to stimulating the market by offering discounted fares for those willing to book early," said Shilpa Bhatia, Senior Vice-President and Head of Sales and Distribution.
On February 24, the Kalanithi Maran-promoted SpiceJet had slashed base fares by a whopping up to 75 per cent under its 'super summer sale' offer, for the third time in two months.
This was soon aped by GoAir and IndiGo as well.
In mid-January, soon after the festive season came to an end, SpiceJet had triggered a fare war by offering up to 50 per cent discounts and subsequently 30 per cent discounts on tickets, which was followed by other carriers too.
Following suit, GoAir announced up to 70 per cent reduction in fares, while IndiGo had come out with discounted tickets on select sectors.
Two days later, Air India, too, joined the fray with a 30 per cent discount on base fares on select routes covering 115 flights.