GER: Gesichter der Lufthansa, Gesichter der Welt, Uniformen, Menschen, Kommunikation. Frankfurt, den 2.07.2013 | ENG: Faces of Lufthansa, faces of the world, uniforms, people, communication. Frankfurt, 2.07.2013

Unsuspectingly Indian, Lufthansa creates new emotions

I don’t know how many of you remember ModiLuft? It was an India airline started in 1993 in collaboration with Lufthansa, after the relaxation of economic policies by the government lead by PV Narasimha Rao. The airline ceased operations in 1996 after relationship turned sour between Lufthansa and S. K. Modi, the Indian promoter.

ModiLuft Boeing 737-200 Martin
ModiLuft Boeing 737-200 Martin. ModiLuft used a similar livery as Lufthansa

ModiLuft was the only airline in India to fly three classes in domestic network using the then advanced Boeing 737. It soon became a darling of travelers for its on-time performance. Thanks to Lufthansa Technik, the ground handling arm of Lufthansa. ModiLuft’s license was used to create what is now SpiceJet, and apart from that there is nothing in common between them. So why did I bring in this history? (more…)

It is raining discounts in the Air

Spice Jet kicked it off, and everyone else followed the suit. Creating a stir with a 50% discount on base fares and fuel surcharges for tickets bought 30 days in advance, Spice Jet let the cat amongst the pigeons of air, which let to a cascading effect. Within hours, IndiGo and Go Air introduced similar fare discounts, so did Air India later in the day and by late night, Jet Airways did the same.

The best part was that this came without any warning and took everyone by surprise. I was anticipating a price-war when Air Asia would eventually launch, which is a given in any case. Tony Fernandes, the Air Asia CEO has already announced that his Indian operations would provide dramatically low fares which perhaps would be lower than the current prices being offered by low-cost carriers. I was thinking may be the airlines would like to cash in the money they can now and prepare for the bloodbath once Air Asia comes along.

But this move certainly surprised me. The discounted tickets are only available on carefully selected routes, and the entire inventory is not part of this. In all probability,  they only have 50% of their inventory open for these cheaper fares.

The fares from SpiceJet also do not come with a catch – oh yes, there is something that is free (or discounted in this case). These tickets are refundable with applicable cancellation fees. Which means, you can cancel the ticket and will be getting money in return upon cancellation. Now that is real bold move. In real world terms, this is a discount sale.

Apparently, the initiative is to ensure that they have enough load factor in the coming months which is a typical lean period for airlines. So if you have not planned, do it today – it is the last day.


Sudden buzz in Aviation Industry

I was planning for a week-long trip this November, and my plans started falling apart after I saw the airline ticket prices going up rapidly. The day (23rd Sept) I checked the fares, return tickets for two adults from BOM (Mumbai) to IXB (Bagdogara) via DEL (Delhi) travelling in November on  Air India (1 stop with the lowest layover time) costed Rs. 19,601. The fare for the same flight went up to Rs. 22,408  the very next day. On 3rd day, the fare again changed to Rs. 24,402. Today, the same flight tickets would cost me Rs.36,282.

Woot! That’s a rock solid increase of Rs. 16,681 in ticket fare in just 4 days for a flight trip planned almost 2 months in advance. I had to wait for my salary to come to book trip tickets for this huge amount, and it now does not make any sense. As you might assume, I backed off from booking the ticket. (more…)

Air India gains a bit of its lost market share

Air India is improving its performance, thanks to a tighter control on its bad practices, which is a good news. Although it has the 4th largest Market Share in India out of 6 Airlines is never a biggie, the best part is that it has started making profits in certain sectors. Profit or not, I strongly believe that Air India should be able to compete on par with all Private and International Players on almost every aspect, and not only Price.

I am tracking Air India’s progress on my blog as it is and will be my favorite airline for reasons unbeknownst to myself.

Below is the chart with Market Share of all Domestic Scheduled Airlines in India (except Air Mantra). (more…)

Pilots do not want Air India to fly for long it seems

What’s with the pilots of Air India? They go on strike, refuse to let ex-Indian Airlines pilots to train on 777 Dreamliner, ground staff issues, lack of cost saving measures etc. have plagued the troubled carrier. An INR 30,000 crore infusion of equity from Government of India is by no means a small amount! And before you forget, that is the money we pay in taxes. We slog harder to make more money, only to pay more taxes.

Air India – flagship, in doldrums
Air India – flagship, in doldrums

Now the latest in the never-ending saga of turbulence in Air India is another Union, that of ex-Indian Airlines pilots. AI or Air India, has tried to revive itself step by step. This time, it is because of new flying rules for its Airbus fleet (many from its Indian days) which helps in saving fuel.

The airline recently modified its acceleration altitude while taking off for their Airbus fleet. This is a method followed by many of its international competitors of repute. But the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) has instructed its members not to follow the new flying rules, citing safety concerns.

Well safety has to be most important of all, but to cry over a proven method is a bit uncalled for. Another thought around this action also calls for pilot’s inability to adapt to newer generation of its planes. Officials recount that if they fly newer generation aircraft in old generation way, what is the point?

Please get the airline back to its glory, anyone?

You can read my other posts related to Air India