The Civil Aviation Ministry should consider fixing an upper limit for every sector, especially in the economy class of airfares, the panel has said.
A Parliamentary panel has asked the government to look at capping air ticket prices and control the “artificially created exorbitant prices in the Gulf sector”. The suggestion comes amid persisting concerns among certain quarters that airlines are levying high airfares, especially during festival seasons. The Civil Aviation Ministry should consider fixing an upper limit for every sector, especially in the economy class of airfares, the panel has said. “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 added.
The Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has made the recommendation in its report tabled in Parliament last week. 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.
According to the panel, 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.
Further, the panel said 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.
The committee noted that airfares from airports of Kerala to the Gulf are quite exorbitant as 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. “The committee received numerous complaints about high airfares and high charges levied by airlines and airport operators making it very expensive for the air travellers,” the report said.