New Delhi: Air India announced on Friday that it was going to make last-minute ticket booking cheaper. It said the discounts could go as high as 40% and the scheme would come to effect from Saturday.

Usually, the last-minute ticket booking in aviation is often at a high price.

Seats which are available within three hours of departure would be sold at big discounts. This concession in airfare is applicable to domestic flights.

Reports said this move by Air India could motivate other airlines to keep their airfares low.

Last week, the national carrier had announced that it was putting away Rs 500 crore to get 19 of its grounded passenger jets back into operations.

Currently, it has 19 aircraft grounded due to various reasons most prominent being expensive spare parts and engine overhauls.

However, an increase in demand due to the peak travel season along with industry’s capacity constraint has led the airline to earmark at least Rs 500 crore for the grounded fleet. “This is an opportune time to raise our market share and meet the healthy demand. All our assets (aircraft) have been deployed strategically. But we still have more aircraft which are grounded,” a senior Air India official told IANS.

“We expect at least two aircraft to join the fleet within days. Addition of other aircraft will aide us to augment our market share.”

Over 10 Airbus A320s and the rest Boeing 787-800s Dreamliner and a few Boeing 777s have been grounded.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Jet Airways staff met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier in the day. They told ANI, “We are ready to work for less salary, but we want Jet Airways to come back. The CM has assured that the Government will intervene after May 23.”