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Friday, 16 August, 2019, 13 : 00 PM [IST]

Despite slow down in the aviation sector bookings for Premium-economy and business-class surge

According to a report by Forum Gandhi in The Business Line, even as there are concerns around the overall slump in the aviation sector, premium economy saw its bookings surge up to 50 per cent, while that of business class rose by 15 per cent, according to industry players.

Travel companies such as Cleartrip have seen a rapid growth in this segment, though it is in its nascent stage in India.

“The premium economy segment is witnessing a growth in excess of 50 per cent for both domestic and international,” said Balu Ramachandran, Senior Vice- President, Cleartrip. According to him, currently, this segment is seeing a rapid growth due to Vistara’s expansion plans.

According to Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head-Global Business Travel, Thomas Cook India, “From a corporate/business travel perspective, we had witnessed a growth of approximately 15 per cent in uptake for premium cabins for the first quarter of 2019, in comparison with the same period of 2018.”

Airlines are seeing an opportunity here given that the overall sector in India is facing headwinds.

“We have been observing a trend in the country wherein luxury flying has shifted from being a want to being a need. Passengers are willing to splurge and at the same time enjoy the worth of every penny invested in air travel,” said an Etihad Airways spokesperson.

According to players like Vistara, segments besides economy class continue to be popular among corporate travellers who want an ambience — to give more space to work and relax, especially on long-haul flights.

Vistara’s spokesperson said, “Demand for our premium economy and business class has been growing, and there is a clear segment that values these classes and is willing to pay a premium for them. The share of revenue is showing healthy improvement.”

“The landscape of air travel in the country has changed and evolved over the past few years. The consumption of air travel in the country has increased and it will continue to grow further. The Indian traveller is now evolved and is looking for unique experiences. The diverse air passengers are continuing to show a strong appetite for luxury experiences even as consumption in the rest of the economy slows down due to inflation and sliding growth prospects,” said an industry expert.
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