Sunday, September 27, 2009

Airfare reduction race stiffens

Travelers will have many opportunities to fly more cheaply as airlines increase their numbers of flights and launch promotional campaigns.

Most airlines have planned their winter season flights to begin on October 25, 2009 and end on March 27, 2010. More flights and lower costs mean many good deals for the next several months.

More flights

Budget airline Jetstar Pacific has increased the number of flights per day, providing 22 flights per day on the Hanoi-HCM City leg, eight HCM City-Danang flights (up by two), and four more flights (up by 2) on the Hanoi-Danang route.

The airline plans to increase the number of flights for key air routes during Tet 2010 (the lunar new year).

Vietnam Airlines (VA) has said it will increase the number of flights on routes to Europe, including the Hanoi/HCM City to Paris leg (from seven to eight flights per week) and the Hanoi/HCM City to Frankfurt route (from five to six).

After Thai Bangkok Airways decided to give up the Bangkok-HCM City air route as of October 25, VA has taken full advantage of this to double the number of flights to 14 per week, or one flight per day, to be applied as of December 1, 209.

The airline has also decided to increase the number of flights on Hanoi/HCM City to Pusan, South Korea route (from seven to ten per week in October 2009 and 12 flights in February 2010) and also from Hanoi to Kunming, China (from four to five flights per week). The airline has also decided to open a Hanoi-Fukuoka air route starting October 10, 2009.

As for domestic routes, VA will also increase its flights by 20 percent on the Hanoi-HCM City route and 15 percent on the Hanoi/HCM City-Danang leg.

Vo Huy Cuong, Head of the Air Transport Division under the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), revealed that Indochina Airline has stopped providing flights on the HCM City-Danang route since September 16, but it is still maintaining four flights per day on the main Hanoi-HCM City route.

Airfare reductions

VA has recently announced sharp discounts of 60-70 percent of airfares for international and domestic routes.

The airline has not revealed how many discounts will be offered, but analysts say that VA is experiencing the pressure created by a lack of passengers and the fierce competition with forty other airlines operating in Vietnam.

The low-cost airfare policy applied by Jetstar Pacific sounds very attractive and the expected number of passengers taking domestic flights is two million, an increase of 25 percent over 2008.

Foreign airlines have also joined the airfare reduction race.

Nguyen Tien Dat, Head of Marketing Division of Transviet, said that Korean Air is offering 20-25 percent discounts on fares for Hanoi to the US and Canada, 25 percent for those to Europe and 16 percent on those to South Korea.

Airfare discounts and reductions are a golden opportunity for travel firms. Yet agencies are reporting that it is not easy to book low cost tickets right now. For example, in order to book discounted tickets with VA, travel firms have to purchase more than 10 tickets, which is quite difficult during the low tourist season.

Ngoc Ha

Post a Comment