Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Railways blueprint confirms its fears: Air travel will be No. 1 choice in three years

New Delhi: A blueprint prepared by the Railways has just confirmed its worst fear: within the next three years, domestic airlines will overtake it as India’s most preferred mode of long-distance travel for upper-class passengers. The projection for 2019-2020 is detailed in a blueprint on the future business scenario prepared by the Railway Ministry, raising the first official red flag over the national transporter losing its upper-class clientele to the booming domestic airlines sector.
While speed has traditionally provided the edge for airlines, “price” has now given them a complementary advantage, says the blueprint, which warns that these two factors need to be taken up on an urgent basis.
The blueprint analyses government statistics to show that 25 per cent of domestic air travel happens over inter-city distances within 500 km — a segment where the Railways was always believed to enjoy a monopoly — contrary to popular perception that air travel is chosen only for 800-1,000-km distances.
”It is essential that Indian Railways addresses the two key value propositions of airlines passenger business — price and speed — immediately to sustain its core business in the passenger segment in the future,” it says.
This should serve as a “wake up call”, and require clear cut strategies on pricing and capacity augmentation, it says.
25/07/17 Avishek G Dastider/Indian Express