Patel warns airlines to bring down exorbitant air fares

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NEW DELHI - Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Thursday rapped airlines on exorbitant air fares being charged on busy routes, saying they must reduce fares or face strict action from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Participating in an international conference on civil aviation at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, Patel told reporters on its sidelines that: “DGCA has sent a notice to all airlines that this kind of pricing cannot be justified and it cannot be allowed to continue.”

“DGCA has special powers and they can certainly invoke them if the airlines do not act responsibly in the days to come. There can be certainly price bands which can be adopted by the airlines which could be the lower and higher bands but they cannot go for a free run and ask for any kind of fee from the customer at the last minute,” Patel added.

He said that his ministry has sent a circular to all the airlines asking to publish sector-wise fare bands monthly.

He said the government has taken serious note of the ‘predatory pricing’ by airlines, and would insist that air fares on every sector/route should have a lower and higher price band, which must be pre-notified on the websites of the respective airlines.

“Fares on lower and higher price band on every sector will have to be notified. It has to be in the public domain on each airline’s website on what would be the fares on higher price band,” Patel said.

Commenting on reports that spot bookings for certain routes have soared to as high as 300 per cent after Diwali, Patel said: “This kind of predatory pricing can not be justified, it is unfair to the passengers.”

According to the DGCA circular, any “significant and noticeable change” in the established tariff already filed (by an airline), should be reported to the DGCA “within 24 hours of effecting such changes”. (ANI)

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