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Air India's New York flight turns flop, rates slashed

Aug 23, 2007 08:41 PM IST Business Business

Mumbai: Good news for travelers flying to New York. After getting poor response for its debut flight, Air India is now slashing fares to attract customers. The new rates will kick in from September 1st. By slashing rates, Air India is trying hard to woo customers so that they break their loyalty to its rival brands. The AI non-stop Mumbai—New York flight that was launched with much fanfare, has so far failed to make an impact. Though the flight promises world-class comforts in a spanking new Boeing 777-200 LR, customers don’t want to give it a try. Starting September, the airline is slashing its economy class fares. An economy class ticket will now cost Rs 38,000 plus taxes, which is down from the earlier Rs 52,000. S Venkat ED, Finance, Air India said, “As far as economy fares are concerned, from first September we will slash rates to Rs 38,000 plus taxes and fuel surcharge. But for business and first class we have maintained the old prices.” Air India's first US flight attracted only 80 passengers compared to its competitor Jet Airways, whose maiden flight was house full. Soon after, Air India announced a discount of 33 percent on tickets across classes. “It’s a new product. So keeping in mind the price sensitive market, we have lowered the prices. But as soon as we penetrate the market, we will restore old prices,” said S Venkat. Looking at the fierce competition among carriers, it is highly unlikely that Air India will be able to hike prices back to their highs, in the near future.