Air India Sales up by 100% After US Luggage Ban on Gulf Flights

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The US ban on large electronic devices as hand luggage on flights originating from some Gulf countries pushed up Air India's ticket sales to the US by 100 percent in the last week of March over the period a year ago.

Air India saw bookings surge to 300 per day per flight in the period between 25-31 March this year, as against a sale of 150 tickets per day per flight in the corresponding period of last year, an airline source said.

The indefinite ban, which came into effect from 25 March, has impacted 10 airports in the Middle East and nine airlines, including Turkish Airlines and major Gulf carriers like Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

Air India flies four flights to four US airports – New York, Newark, Chicago and San Francisco – from New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

“Our sales increased from 150 tickets per day per flight during the same period last year to 300 tickets per day per flight in the first week following the ban,” a source from Air India.

The increased demand has also meant a spike in ticket prices which have increased by Rs 10,000 for a single journey, and Rs 15,000 for a return flight.

The official, however, added the number of passengers on the return leg have not increased.

Of the total 8,472 seats per week on all its flights to the US, the airline has noticed an average 8,100 bookings, which is nearly 95 percent occupancy on its aircraft.

The official, however, added the number of passengers on the return leg have not increased.

In the second week after the ban, ticket sales have however seen a dip.

Air India's operations to the US account for 20 percent of the total revenue of the national carrier. In the just concluded fiscal year, the state-owned carrier mopped up an estimated Rs 3,200 crore revenue, which is an increase of 17 percent over FY16, from its US operations alone.

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