Thursday, Jul 22, 2004
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By T.S. Shankar
CHENNAI, JULY 21 . From early August, air fares on the domestic skies may come down to earth, with Air Deccan, the Bangalore-based low-cost airline, coming out with a special fare touching a new low of Rs.700 (inclusive of tax of Rs.200) to fly between Chennai and New Delhi.
The only rider is that the passenger has to purchase the ticket 90 days in advance on a first-come-first-served basis.
"Air Deccan is preparing to transform the air travel industry and open up a new chapter in the Indian civil aviation sector by making air travel affordable to the common man. All this is possible with the induction of three state-of-the-art 180-seater Airbus-320 jets, of which one has already landed," John Kuruvilla, Chief Revenue Officer of the no-frills airline, told The Hindu here today.
Airbus-320 will offer only one-class configuration of seats with an added attraction of drop-down television and in-flight sales.
Christened "Dyna Fares", Mr. Kuruvilla said the two-way fare between Chennai and New Delhi would cost only Rs.1,400. "We are also ensuring that this price structure literally reaches the end user, covering all major trunk routes, especially the four major metros," he said.
The Airbus fleet was being inducted under a dry-lease arrangement.
The plummeting airfares may even make train travel costlier. (see chart)
Air Deccan now operates 52 daily flights with the 48-seater ATR-Turbo prop aeroplanes, Mr. Kuruvilla said. The slogan for the future was "reach the unreached points."
The airline is also planning to offer the "Dyna Fare" discounted fare levels on the existing routes as well.
With Air Deccan eyeing a large volume of traffic, the president of the Air Passengers' Association of India, D. Sudhakara Reddy, feels that the apex regulatory body, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, should make sure that none of the private carriers shows any complacency in flight safety. "We attach great importance to flight safety and there is no room for any compromise on this," Mr. Kuruvilla said, adding that the airline believed in safe transportation.
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