Amid an escalating price war, India’s aviation industry is registering losses. While Kingfisher Airlines continues to cut flights, the spotlight is now on India’s troubled aviation industry and a crisis that needs quick fix. Asian Correspondent spoke to Manish Amin, co-founder and CIO of India’s leading online travel company, Yatra.com, to enquire whether the Kingfisher crisis highlights bigger problems for India’s airlines.
SS: What does the Kingfisher crisis mean for domestic travel?
MA: Currently with the cancellation of flights, passengers are distressed and in the long run could possibly see an increase in prices if demand outstrips supply.
SS: What does the current situation say of the overall aviation sector in India?
MA: Due to the heavy regulation and high prices of aviation fuel and airport taxes it’s difficult to run a profitable business – but not impossible, as shown by Indigo. The government needs to take a hard look if it wants this to be a sustainable business where investors put their money.
SS: What solutions can be offered towards the Indian aviation sector such as more foreign investment and licensing, etc?
MA: Allowing FDI investment could be an option. Reducing fuel surcharges, special incentives for airlines that fly non- profitable sectors etc. are also options to consider.
SS: Can you tell me a bit more about the special markdown of Rs 500 offered by Yatra on all revised booking of tickets through the company’s website and call centre to its customers? What inspired such a move and what response have you received?
MA: We have launched this initiative over the weekend as we had started receiving complaints from our customers about the stress they were facing with regards to their travel plans. Yatra.com is positioned as a hassle free travel service provider and we could not wait and watch this. We have offered our customers a Rs 500 discount voucher in case they cancel their tickets and book again to fly by the 29th. The response is positive and customers are happy at this proactive move. Yatra.com’s brand philosophy of creating happy travellers is what motivated us to think of this offer.