Fear that has been tormenting the Railways for a while proves right as a new report of the projection for 2019-2020 states within next three years domestic airlines will overtake Indian Railways as India's most preferred mode of long-distance travel for upper-class passengers.
Indian Express reported that this has raised the first official red flag over the national transporter losing its upper-class clientele to the booming domestic airlines sector.
The report said that while speed has made the airlines an advantage it is now fare has given them a complementary advantage. If they did not tap these two factors the projection would come true as it is predicted.
According to the blueprint, 25% of domestic air travel happens over inter-city distances within 500 km. This contradicts the assumption that air travel is popular only for distances between 800 km and 1,000 km.
“With the proliferation of airports into small towns and massive thrust of low-cost airlines to tier II and tier III cities, there is a clear pattern emerging of air being preferred for even shorter hauls by passengers,” it said.
Apart from airfares coming closer to rail fares, proactive government policies like UDAAN, which provides for air travel of less than an hour for Rs 2,500 will also provide impetus to the civil aviation sector, the blueprint concludes.