Airlines slash flight ticket prices in Diwali fortnight amid weak demand

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New Delhi: Airlines are offering a Diwali bonanza to travellers in the form of sharp cuts in flight ticket prices, a sign that demand for plane seats in the festive season is weak.

Typically, flight fares in the fortnight leading up to Diwali and in the quarter to 10 January are among the highest in the year, helping airlines make up for losses in the lean seasons.

This year is different. One-way economy flight tickets from Delhi to Mumbai are now going for Rs2,000, all inclusive. These used to be about Rs5,000- 8,000 in the fortnight before Diwali, which this year falls on 19 October.

Essentially, there are more seats chasing fewer passengers and fares have dropped almost 40-50%. Online travel agent MakeMyTrip now also displays tags next to these fares saying the flight ticket is cheaper than a Rajdhani train fare.

A search on MakeMyTrip shows flight fares across many routes have dropped.

To be sure, air fares on some routes were higher because of festival demand. Fares were as high as Rs10,000 on a Bengaluru-Delhi flight, for example.

Vistara announced a sale offering all-inclusive flight fares starting at Rs1,149 in economy class and Rs2,099 in premium economy. Bookings open at midnight on Tuesday and will be open till Friday for travel between 26 October and 24 March. “Through this sale, our customers have one final opportunity this year to book their travel for the festive and holiday season at amazing fares,” Sanjiv Kapoor, Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer, said in a statement.

IndiGo, Air India and Jet Airways declined to comment.

Mint first reported on 2 October how low demand was dragging down flights fares. MakeMyTrip co-founder Keyur Joshi had said, “Aviation is pretty much a bellwether of the economy. So, low fares during festive times indicates a general slowdown.”

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