Early New Year may be a good time to take that dream holiday overseas as foreign airlines, which are facing a drop in demand due to depreciating rupee and rising fuel costs, have significantly stepped up offers to lure the Indian traveller back.
Airlines including Emirates, Qatar Airways, AirAsia and Etihad Airways have lined up attractive offers to customers for the travel period between January and March, which is generally a lean season for the aviation industry.
According to online travel companies and agents, the number of promotional offers by the foreign carriers this years are at least 50% higher compared with the last year.
For example, Etihad Airways ran a scheme for three days, wherein it offered fare to Europe at Rs40,000, while the usual fare to the continent are around Rs60,000.
Emirates is offering Dubai return ticket at Rs16,352, which is almost 30-40% less than the normal fare.
Attractive fares are also available to destinations like Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi from airlines like AirAsia and Malaysian Airlines.
“A lot of attractive fares are being offered by the international carriers. This will help in stimulating demand during the lean period,” said Ashwini Kakkar, executive vice-chairman, Mercury Travels.
Travel to international destinations took a back seat this year due to rupee depreciation and higher fares.
“Airlines this year were forced to hike fares due to higher fuel costs and depreciation in rupee. By offering attractive fares on advance purchases for travel during January-March, the airlines are trying to boost demand. However, there are few takers for such offers as Indian travellers generally do not plan their travel in advance,” said Jai Bhatia, chairman, western region, Travel Agents Association of India.
“The deals offered by the carriers are at least 50% higher than last year. In the next 10 days we will see other players too participating in the race,” said Sharat Dhall, president Yatra.com.
“Despite the structural challenges in the market, international traffic to/from India has been a strong and steady performer for the industry over the past decade, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 11.3%,” according to Center of Asia Pacific of Aviation, an aviation consultancy firm.