AIR India has entered travel agency territory in a tie-up with MakeMyTrip, which will see the airline launch holiday packages for sale on its website.
A total of 150 Air India Holidays packages to 73 domestic and two international destinations, bundling three- to five-star hotel stays, will be rolled out for direct consumer purchase in the near future.
Travel consultants can also log into a dedicated area on Air India’s site and sell the airline’s packages at commissionable rates.
Said Rohit Nandan, chairman and managing director, Air India: “Air India Holidays…enables Air India to tap into the fast-growing leisure market, even as we play our role in tourism development as India’s national carrier.”
However, travel consultants TTG Asia e-Daily spoke to were unfazed. PP Khanna, director, Diplomatic Travel Point, said: “An initiative like this by Air India is likely to have an impact on the market only if the airline keeps the holiday packages cost-effective.”
Meanwhile, Sajan K Gupta, managing director, Vayu Seva Tours, commented that Air India’s new venture was likely to have “negligible impact” on outbound and domestic tourism.
“Air India has a 23 per cent market share of ticket sales in the domestic sector and much of it is for domestic business travel. Even if 40 per cent of Air India’s passengers fly for tourism, not all of them are likely to find their hotels, itineraries or destinations of choice being offered,” he explained.
Similarly, Sanjay Maniar, managing director of Travelaid, said: “Air India is trying to build a new vertical in a market that increasingly customises (programmes to meet) holiday needs, preferences and itineraries.
“Flights and room nights will not be a problem, but I doubt if Air India can effectively put together the logistics of transfers, ground transportation, city tours, etc, that would suit the traveller’s budgets and needs. To design and customise a holiday, you have to come to a travel consultant.”