Increase in cancellation charges by Indigo, SpiceJet: DGCA seeks report from airlines

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New Delhi | Updated: April 8, 2016 10:44:08 AM

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has sought a report from all the airlines by Friday explaining the rationale behind the recent increase in cancellation charges.

airline660Cancellation charges hike: The development comes in response to recent hikes in such charges by Indigo and SpiceJet for the second time in the year.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has sought a report from all the airlines by Friday explaining the rationale behind the recent increase in cancellation charges. The development comes in response to recent hikes in such charges by Indigo and SpiceJet for the second time in the year. Meanwhile, Air Passenger Association of India (APAI), a Benagluru-based NGO is planning to file a petition before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) charging the airlines’ of forming a cartel.

“We have sent a notice to all the airlines seeking an explanation for the hefty hikes and are expecting a response from them by Friday, after which we will take a decision,” a senior official at DGCA told FE.

Low-cost carriers Indigo and SpiceJet, after hiking their cancellation charges in February this year, revised the cancellation charges upward again in April. Indigo which used to earlier charge between Rs 1,250 and Rs 2,250 depending upon the time of the cancellation, has done away with the slab system and now charges Rs 2,250 for cancelling tickets two hours before departure. While SpiceJet which used to charge approximately Rs 1,899 for domestic and `2,349 for international has hiked it to Rs 2,250 and Rs 2,500 respectively.

“We had raised our concerns in February itself stating that the pinch will be felt by the passengers. There is a pattern to all of this, why are the hikes taking place in a succession, CCI should take a look into this. We are waiting for the airlines to respond to the DGCA’s notice, we do not want to be hasty, we want to have our facts straight before we approach CCI,” Sudhakara Reddy, president, APAI told FE. “Airlines should be more transparent about these hikes, the only way we find about this is through a travel agent or newspapers. There should be proper announcements for the benefit of fliers,” he added.

Besides Indigo and SpiceJet, Air India and Vistara have also hiked their cancellation charges in February and March, respectively. While Indigo and SpiceJet refused to comment on the issue, a Vistara spokesperson told FE, “The cancellation charges by Vistara are based on the booking class and fare family. For those who prefer not to pay the change and cancellation fees, we offer flexi fares where the fees are much lower. Our change and cancellation fees have been the lowest compared to other airlines in India. Even after the recent adjustment necessitated due to the rising fuel prices, these charges are lower than our competitors.”

“It’s sad because the fliers do not have an option as most of the airlines raise cancellation charges at the same time, even though it is going to be detrimental for the passengers but as they don’t have an alternative they will have to end up paying extra through their pockets,” Jyoti Mayal, chairperson, airlines counsel, travel agents association of India (TAAI) told FE.

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