Wednesday, January 17, 2007

LCCs board gravy train for patrons

New Delhi: In their bid to lure ‘chic’ train commuters, budget players like Air Deccan, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo are all set to advertise in Rajdhanis and Shatabdis. They have also begun to offer incentives to rail ticket agents to draw the top 3% of rail passengers to the skies.
On its part, Rail Bhawan has taken note of the development its counter plan will roll out via the forthcoming rail budget. According to sources, the budget may see “rationalisation” of Shatabdi and Rajdhani fares, introduction of more low-cost AC trains and revamp of catering services. The airlines, however, have their game plan clear-cut. SpiceJet plans to advertise inside Rajdhani and Shatabdi while rival IndiGo has already rolled out a campaign comprising pamphlets, posters and billboards at railway stations.
Air Deccan‘s campaign will be aimed at railway passengers and first-time travellers. According to an ICICI Securities aviation sector study, LCCs plan to target the 49 million upper class rail trips against the 19.4 million air trips seen last year. The study estimates that by 2008, the air-to-upper class rail passenger ratio will increase to more 75% from the present 40%.
17/01/07 Sunny Verma & Rajat Guha/Economic Times