The segment of online travel ticket booking has seen a massive upturn with companies like Expedia, Yatra.com, Travelocity and MakeMyTrip. Joining these services in the fray is the veteran of all online ticket booking services, IRCTC. The state owned online ticket retailer has announced that it will be adding ‘Airline tickets’ to its existing portfolio. The service is expected to launch in a week and will have a dedicated website.
It is the IRCTC’s aim to emerge as the country’s leading travel and tourism provider. IRCTC’s portfolio of services currently includes railway tickets, cab rental and hotel booking. With the addition of air ticket sales, the IRCTC will cover all areas of Online Travel Bookings and have an even footing to take on the companies in the space. IRCTC has announced that they have made deals with all the major airlines, both full service carriers and low-cost ones. The website is going to be called air.irctc.co.in and is going to sport a meta-search feature for all Indian carriers which will make accessing information about flights easier.
The company has already stated that it will not levy service charges and the total discount per airline ticket will be in the range of Rs. 200-300. The cancellation charges will also be 50% lesser than what competitors are charging presently. This is estimated to be around Rs.500 to Rs. 750 per ticket. This will bring about a new cost slashing frenzy in the Online ticketing segment. The IRCTC is capable of handling large scale e-commerce operations judging by the fact they sell close to 3.5 lakh tickets a day. Their system works really well, right down from searching information to processing payment and refunds. IRCTC has also promised to sweeten the deal with consumers by guaranteeing quick cancellations and initiating tie-ups with leading banks for attractive cash back offers for credit card users.
The arrival of IRCTC into airline ticketing will definitely see immediate impact in the segment. Startups and upcoming travel booking companies will have to find a way to stand out among the rest as consumers will definitely flock to IRCTC due to the reasonable rates that the service will provide. Do you think that this initiative by IRCTC will negatively impact private sector companies? Share your thoughts with us.