Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Hold the applause, lifting price cap no guarantee of cheaper flights

The lifting of the price cap from domestic flight ticketing from August 31 is not essentially happy news for the air traveller. Low-density routes might see a drop in fares. The trunk routes that have a strong upload will most likely show a price rise on early morning and late evening flights because these have the highest demand. A drop in red eye options is possible, but by and large this, in aircraft parlance, is bums on seats time. Especially where the many A to B to C routes still do not have an adequate in-season subscription.

With competition comes the ability to price right, and while newbie Akasa is slicing the others at present, there will come a time soon enough when it will have to get real. IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara, Air Asia, GoFirst, Air India and Alliance Air, soon to be joined by Jet, are all in the fray. For the next fifty days, in what is the back-to-school post-vacation lean period, there will be the illusion of relief as the deflated pricing on less dense routes is touted as evidence of love and concern for passengers.

These will, in the run-up to Diwali, balloon dramatically, even going into the gouging category as airlines try to make their ends talk to each other if not yet meet in the profit margin.

Contrary to popular belief, the carriers, like side-by-side vegetable vendors, will tacitly agree to be on the same page while pretending to be engaged in a duel with each other. A renegade like Akasa may not get in line immediately, but no one has endlessly deep pockets.

30/08/22 Bikram Vohra/News9Live

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