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There’s perhaps more opportunity than ever for cybercriminals to take advantage of consumers who are increasingly getting lured in by deals that are literally too good to be true.

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Nearly 51 percent of Indians have fallen victim to online scams while trying to book holidays to save money, according to digital security company McAfee Corp’s Safer Summer Holidays travel report. Amid the financial pressures of today’s economic environment, Indians are more likely to seek out a bargain deal online (54 percent), move quickly to snap up a deal (50 percent), try a new booking site (44 percent) and even a new destination (47 percent), to save money, the report said. Travel scams can take many forms, with the report finding 27 percent of Indians have been tricked into making payments through fraudulent platforms and 36 percent have had their identity stolen when booking online. Of this portion, 13 percent entered passport information and 23 percent provided other personally identifiable information to a fake website, it said. Overall, 59 percent of Indians are estimated to be more concerned about digital threats than physical ones, such as being pickpocketed, and 94 percent of Indian adults hold either some or high concern about their identity being compromised as part of their travel, the report noted. The report is based on a survey of 7,000 people across seven countries, including 1,010 from India. Earlier in March, the Google pages of many hotels — including premier properties — in the Himalayan hill towns of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal were defaced.

Brij Hotels announced signing of Brij Anarya, Dharmashala in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, and it’s scheduled to open this June. Featuring 12 suites, the 245-year-old colonial estate is spread over 10 acres of mountain plateau and located 7.4 miles away from the Kangra airport. In April, the company signed a 12-suite Brij Atmanya, a boutique property located in Bhowali, Nainital in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. Brij Anarya will join the current portfolio of seven Brij properties in the country. The brand also adding multiple destinations to its portfolio with hotels in Bandhavgarh, Goa and Pokhara in Nepal under development.

Indian airports operator Airports Authority of India has reported profit of $410 million for the 2022-23 financial year amid increasing domestic air traffic. In 2022, domestic air passenger traffic surged 47.05 percent to 123.2 million compared to 83.8 million in 2021, as per data from aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Further, the passenger numbers soared 51.7 percent to 37.5 crore in the first three months of this year as against 24.7 million in the same period a year ago. The operator has reported a profit for the first time after the coronavirus pandemic. In the financial years 2021-22 and 2020-21, the operator had reported a loss.

India will require around 140 million litres of biofuels to achieve 1 percent blending in jet fuel by 2025 to cut emissions from the aviation sector, said oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri. The mandate for sustainable aviation fuel could rise to 4-5 percent if larger volumes of biofuels are available, he added. Unlike the U.S. and European countries, India does not have policies governing sustainable aviation fuel yet. The European Commission sustainable aviation fuel mandate is expected to start in 2025 with a minimum volume at 2 percent. An Indian panel had suggested for the rollout that there should be a 1 percent sustainable aviation fuel minimum volume in the country by 2025, which is yet to be cabinet-approved.

Tata Group-owned Air India is offering members of its frequent flyer program, Flying Returns, a limited-time opportunity to fast-track their tier status upgrade or renewal with just 50 percent of the usual required qualifying loyalty points. The new program will offer benefits and rewards such as Star Alliance advantages, no blackout date, benefits related to travel, benefits related to reservation, extended validity of FR points, family pooling, retro claim offer and enhanced customer care. The announcement is in line with the airline’s mission to make ‘Flying Returns’ one of the most rewarding loyalty programs globally, Air India said in a statement.

Online travel company has partnered with an Indian private sector bank, IDFC First Bank, to serve as the bank’s corporate travel services provider. Under the agreement, Yatra will oversee all of the bank’s travel needs, including flight and hotel bookings, along with other auxiliary services. The aim is to enhance travel management efficiency and offer employees a streamlined travel experience. “Our extensive network and cutting-edge technology platform will empower IDFC First Bank to manage their travel needs with greater efficiency, ultimately saving them both time and cost,” said Dhruv Shringi, co-founder and CEO of Yatra Online. In other news, having missed its deadline for launching an Indian initial public offering by March this year, the company said that it is “hopeful and confident of getting it done in the near term.” 

Low-cost carrier IndiGo announced that it will pay a bonus of 3 percent to its crew after its March quarter results, according to media reports. The company reported a profit of $111 million for the January-March quarter against a loss in the corresponding quarter in the year-ago period. InterGlobe Aviation, which runs the airline, had stopped paying bonuses since the financial year 2020 as the pandemic impacted the business. IndiGo’s record profit can be attributed to the robust demand for air travel during the period. In an earnings conference call, the airline’s management termed the last financial year as the year of recovery and growth.

India’s newest airline Akasa Air has announced a Take Off Tuesday sale for its customers traveling on Tuesdays. As part of the promotion, the airline is offering a 10 percent discount on Saver and Flexi fares upon booking one-way and return non-stop flights to 17 destinations across the country. Bookings under the sale are open for one week until May 26 for travel on Tuesdays starting May 22. Customers must book at least three days prior to their travel date and avail the discount by using the promo code Tuesday. Last week, the airline commenced operations from the eastern city of Kolkata with daily non-stop flights to Bengaluru and Guwahati


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Tags: air india, air traffic, akasa air, bookings, india, indigo, loyalty, online travel, profits, rewards programs, scams, skift india report, sustainable aviation fuel, yatra

Photo credit: Indians are more likely to seek out a bargain deal online and try a new booking site to save money. Source: / woman holding silver iPhone 6

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