Government owned Air India is aiming to up its seat occupancy from 80 per cent to 100 per cent on its key routes: Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Bengaluru.

The strategy involves luring government owned Indian Railways’ passengers with cheap air fares that compete with AC first-class train tickets.

Air India’s last minute tickets on above mentioned key routes will drop to as low as 50 per cent of the normal price and match its Rajdhani Express’ AC tier II ticket price. 

For example, while a regular one-way economy Air India ticket from Delhi to Mumbai costs anywhere from ₹4,000 to ₹7,000, an AC tier II Rajdhani express ticket on the same route is priced at around ₹2,500.

The move is the opposite of the trend followed by other Indian airlines who increase last minute ticket prices by up to three times of the regular fare.

Air India’s chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani says, “Our objective is to fill these remaining (20 per cent) seats as well. This can be achieved with such affordable fares. It would also help us increase our passengers’ revenue and provide relief to passengers from last minute sky-rocketing fares.” 

This is in addition to Air India’s “Super Fares” scheme introduced last week and will run until September 30, 2016. It especially benefits waitlisted passengers of Indian Railways who can book a one-way Air India economy seat for a price that matches its Rajdhani Express AC first class fare. 

The discounted domestic air tickets are available up to four hours before flight departure on 11 routes: Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Bengaluru, Delhi-Ranchi, Delhi-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Hyderabad, Delhi-Bhubaneswar, Delhi-Goa, Delhi-Patna and Delhi-Raipur. The “super fares” appear on entering promo code SPOT at the time of booking.

Neha Gupta Kapoor