Foreign airlines line up offers to lure Indians

NEW DELHI: If you’re in India and want to head out on vacation to you dream foreign destination, now’s probably the best time.

International carriers are vying with each other for a pie of the Indian international passenger traffic as India emerges as an aviation hub and as more Indians travel abroad.

Hindustan Times reports that a number of foreign carriers have announced limited period discount offers and schemes to attract Indian travellers. British Airways is offering a discount of up to 70% on couple tickets to London and other destinations including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.

Emirates is offering its first-class and business-class passengers, flying from India to select destinations via Dubai, a complimentary one-night stay at the five-star JW Marriot Marquis hotel and a 36-hour UAE visa. It had earlier announced a discount of up to 14% in business and economy class fares for couples.

Singapore Airlines and SilkAir are offering special economy class return fares starting at Rs. 25,500 for select Asian destinations.

According to Rajji Rai, chairman, Swift Travel International Ltd, “… some of these offers are valid for travel even in July, which just shows how fiercely foreign carriers are competing for the outbound passenger. This is a lean period for travel following the Christmas-New Year break and hence we find discounted schemes by airlines. Bookings pick up again around June when schools close for summer holidays.”

International passenger traffic in and out of India in 2013 increased of 5.5% over the previous year standing at 43 million. India, currently the ninth-largest aviation market globally, is likely to become the third-largest aviation market by 2020, handling over 350 million domestic and 85 million international passengers.

About 40% of all international traffic from India is West Asia-bound. Three of the top international carriers operating to India in 2012-13 were from the Gulf while two were from South Asia. Interestingly, not even a single European or American carrier featured among the top nine.

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