Five of six airlines compete with similar fare strategies on Hyderabad-Chennai

Image: Hyderabad airport
The lowest average fare on the Hyderabad-Chennai route in February is offered by low-cost carrier IndiGo. The competition is, however, nipping at their heels.
Image: Bernard Berger
GMR’s head of airline marketing Bernard Berger (the ex-Ryanair new route development director) keeps six airlines happy serving Chennai from Hyderabad airport, but with regards to their fares, it can be difficult to tell them apart.

The Indian domestic route from Hyderabad to Chennai, a distance of only just over 500 kilometres, is served by an entire six airlines. One further airline, the low-cost carrier Air India Express, should operate the route according to OAG, but does for some reason not have seats for sale and has therefore been excluded from this fare comparison.

The airline offering the most flights on the route is Kingfisher Airlines, which has four daily flights. It is followed by fellow network carrier Jet Airways with three daily frequencies. The national carrier Indian Airlines (which is in the process of merging with Air India), the business-oriented carrier Paramount Airways and low-cost carriers SpiceJet and IndiGo each fly between once and just over twice daily on average.

The fares vary between 2,247 rupees (approx. €35/$50) at the lower end, offered by IndiGo and SpiceJet, and 3,845 rupees (approx. €60/$85) as the highest of fares offered by any airline as the lowest in a day, offered by SpiceJet on one day only.

Fares fall significantly if bookings are made at least two weeks in advance. Thus the dip in fares from 11 February onwards, 14 days after the fare data was collected on 28 January.

Chart: Hyderabad-Chennai one-way fares
Source: Airlines’ websites on 28 January 2010
Shaded areas are Saturdays and Sundays.

Paramount, which prides itself in offering a business product at an economy fare, uses a fixed fare approach on the route and is almost consistently the most expensive airline in the comparison. The remaining airlines use nearly identical revenue management strategies, offering similar fare levels each day, with few variations over the month analysed.

Two airlines offer identical fares on all but three days in February. SpiceJet’s two isolated fare peaks (once during a weekend and once mid-week) do, however, mean that fellow low-cost carrier IndiGo offers the lowest fare average in the comparison. Notably, the fare gap between the low-cost carriers and network carriers is also small, with Jet Airways’ average fare being only 2% higher than that of IndiGo.


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