Indian carriers see weak holiday sales

After a quarter of record losses, India’s carriers seem to be bracing themselves for a weak holiday season as Diwali traffic registered single-digit growth and bookings till Christmas are just about filling half their planes.

“The numbers for Diwali were relatively flat, although price realisation might be slightly better,” said Sharat Dhall, president of travel portal yatra.com. “We saw a 5-6% increase in Diwali bookings only, compared to 12-13% a year earlier,” said Manoj Samuel, director of Riya Travels, one of India’s biggest travel agencies in terms of inventory. “Revenue in gross terms would have increased 25% but that isn’t enough to break even as airlines filled just 75% of their flights during Diwali where they should have filled above 80%,” he added.

In September, after a month of low yields, India’s carriers did away with all discounts and raised ticket prices by at least 25% on key sectors. This hit air travel demand across sectors. The October-December quarter is usually the most profitable for airlines due to a spurt in holiday travel. But this year seems to be different.

Read the full report here, Economic Times


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