Gulf carriers and Indian travel companies are enticing customers with attractive offers to Dubai, Sharjahand Abu Dhabi for the upcoming Indian Premier League, the popular though controversial mini-match cricket series which has grown to be as much a celebrity carnival as a sporting event.
Sharjah-based Air Arabia has slashed prices to 20,499 for a round trip, which includes meals, luggage and even visa charges. Like all others, the airline is, however, not directly marketing the offers for IPL but selling it to people as a chance for them to witness “Twenty20” matches, referring to the popular 20-over match format of the series.
A ticket from Trivandrum to Sharjah now costs . 9,624.71, from Mumbai . 9,633.5 and from Chennai . 8,024.07. The fares are cheaper than a week out ticket from Mumbai to Goa or Delhi to Chennai. The airline is the second biggest gulf carrier in terms of capacity in India, operating 112 weekly flights to 13 cities in the country. It has been doing extensive marketing of its offers online and especially on popular radio channels.
The world’s fastest growing carrier Emirates is coming up with an offer in which it will completely or partly waive off visa charges. Emirates operates 185 weekly flights to India. Its Visa processing is done by the Dubai Visa Processing Centre, a wholly owned subsidiary of VFS Global. While Abu-Dhabi’s Etihad Airways hasn’t advertised offers, the airline along its strategic partner Jet AirwaysThursday said it will sponsor on of the IPL teams — Mumbai Indians.
Etihad last year bought a 24% stake in Jet. “We have seen a 29%-30% increase to the three cities on the days of the IPL matches,” said Tarique Khatri, senior vice-president , supplier relations at Cleartrip.com.
Read the full report here, Economic Times