The government should consider fixing upper limit for airfares across sectors as pricing mechanism followed in the developed world may not suit Indian conditions, a Parliamentary panel said today. There have been concerns expressed in various quarters about airlines charging high ticket prices. Against this backdrop, the panel said the Civil Aviation Ministry should consider fixing an upper limit for every sector, especially in the economy class of airfares. “We are a developing country and many of the pricing mechanisms applicable to the developed countries may not suit the Indian people and Indian conditions,” it noted. The Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has made the recommendation in its report tabled in the Parliament today. The report is on the Demand for Grants (2017-18) of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
While there have been demands for capping airfares earlier as well, the ministry has been maintaining that air ticket prices are not controlled by it and depends on the market forces of demand and supply. In the report, the panel said the ministry should “specify the limitations, legal and otherwise” which need to be amended or other measures to be put in place to tackle the problem of exorbitant airfares after consultation with stakeholders.
The panel also said that the Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA should intervene effectively to control the “artificially created exorbitant prices in the Gulf sector”. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the sectoral regulator. As per the committee, airfares from airports of Kerala to the Gulf are quite exorbitant compared to foreign carriers. “Many of the travellers who are utilising the Gulf sectors are migrant labourers and their helplessness should not be exploited by the airlines,” it added.