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Air India drops fare on metro routes

New Delhi, Jan 22 () : The national carrier Air India has silently dropped its fares to match the budget carrier, Jet Konnect.

DGCA, the aviation regulatory body had told all airlines not to follow the SpiceJet formula to slash rates to increase occupancy. Air India MD had termed this fare discount as suicidal. Now travel portals show that the national carrier has brought down the rates to match other low-budget airlines.

The reason it gives is that it noticed that Jet Konnect which plies on metro routes had fares down and initially it was seen as a temporary measure but after ten days the fares remained static. Air India which increased its domestic passenger traffic to twenty one percent saw the threat of its passengers shifting to Jet Konnect and hence the revision.

Travel agents say that Air India’s new rates would push for a price war since the national carrier’s in-flight entertainment service and its catering would lure traffic from other airlines in the domestic sector.

Air India acting on DGCA instruction decided to stop bookings on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. US, Japan and Qatar grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft after experiencing problems due to the battery charging.

US aviation regulatory body FAA asked Boeing to stop operations of Dreamliner till the snag was rectified. Fifty Dreamliner aircrafts operate in the world and six of them are in India. Air India is waiting for an interim report from FAA and Boeing about the nature of the complaint and then sit with DGCA to solve the issue.

Civil Aviation minister Ajit Singh hinted about Boeing compensating Air India for the losses due to grounding of Dreamliner aircraft. The airlines has however not staked any claim since it first hopes to get the aircraft problem rectified. Yet another reason is that Boeing on many occasions had not claimed compensation when Air India defaulted on taking delivery of the aircraft.