Air India is stepping up its advertising campaign to lure customers from low cost airlines like IndiGo.

Air India put up an advertisement on a wall panel right behind IndiGo’s check-in counters at Mumbaiairport with a message — “Next time fly with Air India and feel the difference.” The billboard does not name any rival airline but the strategic placement says it all. IndiGo has about 40 per cent market share, more than double of Air India’s 14.8 per cent.

In FY16, Air India spent about Rs 70 crore on advertising. Air India, along with Jet Airways and Vistara, operates from Mumbai airport’s Terminal 2 while IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet, which have a combined market share of 60 per cent, operate from Terminal 1B.

“We are trying to project Air India for what it is — the real comfort level, the warmth, good leg space, great food and extra baggage space,” said Air India Chairperson Ashwani Lohani in a text message, responding to a query on the airline’s marketing strategy. IndiGo declined to comment on the issue.

This is not the first time an airline has used such a strategy. IndiGo had earlier put up panel advertisements behind Jet Airways counters at Terminal 1B (Jet shifted to T2 last year), while SpiceJet advertised on pillars opposite IndiGo counters in Mumbai airport.

However, such aggressive marketing is a first for the national carrier. Air India is trying to muscle its way in consumer mind with high pitch advertising and discount offers, including fares similar to Rajdhani Express II-AC train, four hours before flight departure.

SOURCEBusiness Standard