Airfare Alert! Parliamentary panel raps airlines, recommends this to check ever-increasing airfares

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New Delhi | Published: January 5, 2018 1:22:18 PM

The Parliamentary panel has now toughened its stance on the ever-increasing fares of airlines in the country.

parliamentary panel, airfare prices, airlines prices, airlines airfare, increasing airfares, civil aviation ministry The Parliamentary panel has now toughened its stance on the ever-increasing fares of airlines in the country.

The Parliamentary panel has now toughened its stance on the ever-increasing fares of airlines in the country. A Hindustan Times report has said the Parliamentary panel on aviation has recommended a cap on the airline fares. The panel has called on the government to stop airlines from increasing their fares during high demand. It has suggested the civil aviation ministry to fix a fare ceiling for different routes.

Apart from a constant upper limit on airfares, the panel has proposed that airlines must not be allowed to charge more than 50 percent of the base fare on cancellation, and that fare must be refunded to passengers. The report ‘Issues related to Improving Consumers’ Satisfaction of Airlines’ was tabled in Parliament on Thursday. It said the issue of exorbitant airfares during festival season, natural disasters and political unrest was at the centre stage of the panel’s deliberations. “The committee notes that around festivals and for bookings made closer to the date of travel, some airlines are charging more than ten times of the advance booking fare,” said the report ‘Issues Related to Improving Consumers’ Satisfaction of Airlines’ tabled by the parliamentary panel on transport, tourism and culture.

The committee noted the civil aviation ministry’s explanation that flight fares are based on international practices. But, it said the air ticket pricing mechanism of developed countries must not be applicable in India. It also added that the reduction in the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) is not being passed to consumers in the form of reduced airfare. While asking the ministry to fix an upper limit for airfare, the panel also castigated airlines for taking windfall profits from “hapless passengers especially from those working class passengers who are traveling in the Gulf sector”.

Disagreeing with the recommendations, Kapil Kaul from aviation consulting firm CAPA said Indian fliers enjoy some of the lowest fares in the world. “While the parliamentary panel’s recommendations are not surprising, it is not binding on the government. And it is also legally untenable. In a deregulated sector it is not possible to interfere in a strategic decision such as airfare pricing,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of aviation consultancy firm CAPA.

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