One-way Delhi-Mumbai fare not to exceed Rs 10,000.
About a third of domestic flight services will restart from May 25 with a set of strict standard operating procedures (SoPs) for passengers and fare regulations for the carriers, the civil aviation ministry said on Thursday.
The fare regulation is for a period of three months – till August 24 – to ensure that passengers are not overcharged. “We have decided on fares based on flight duration. We have divided fares under seven flight durations,” civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.
So for a Delhi-Mumbai flight the minimum price of a ticket will be Rs 3,500 and maximum can go up to Rs 10,000. According to the fare regulation guidelines issued on Thursday, airlines will have to sell 40% of their total seats for a fare, which will be the median of the lowest and highest slabs, which in Delhi-Mumbai case will be Rs 6,750. However, airlines are free to sell the remaining 60% at lower price if they want.
Aditya Ghosh, former president of IndiGo, told CNBC TV18 that the fare cap will neither help the airlines in recovering cost and whatever they have lost during the lockdown, nor the consumers because the very low fares in the range of Rs 1,500-2,000 kinds will disappear, which the carriers otherwise offered on the basis of demand-supply. He said that during normal circumstances, airlines used to sell the very highly priced tickets for a very small number of seats, which may not be the case now.
Basically, limits on air fares have been set in seven bands on the basis of duration of flights ranging from 40 minutes to 210 minutes. The first band, which would have its specific lower and upper limits of air fare, will consist of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration. Second, third, fourth and fifth bands of upper limit would be of flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes and 120-150 minutes. The sixth and seventh bands would consist of flights with durations between 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes.
The ministry, also in a set of detailed guidelines, advised the vulnerable people like the elderly, pregnant women and passengers battling health issues to avoid air travel till the coronavirus pandemic abates. People residing in a containment zone will not be allowed to travel. All passengers will have to provide their medical details through the Aarogya Setu app or by filling up a self-declaration form. They will have to go for web check-in as physical check-in counters at airports will not operate. The rules included no meals on board, mandatory temperature checks for all passengers and allowing only one check-in bag for each passenger.
Further, people who were tested positive for Covid-19 will not be allowed to travel. All the passengers will have to wear masks while entering airports and thereafter. Passengers will have to reach airports two hours before flights are scheduled to depart and they will have to strictly follow social distancing rules.
According to the guidelines, airports will have to ensure easy availability of hand sanitisers at all entry points and at various touch points. The ministry also allowed resumption of services by all food and beverages (F&B) outlets on the condition that they must follow Covid-19 precautions.
“All stakeholders such as airlines, airports have cooperated. So we took the decision to resume flights from May 25,” Puri said.