While the move is expected to bring some relief to the financially distressed aviation industry, one of the most affected industries because of the coronavirus pandemic, it would also make air travel costlier at least till March 31.
Air travel is likely to be costlier as the Ministry of Civil Aviation has increased the minimum and maximum cap on fares across all bands. The limits on airfares have been increased by 10-30 per cent, the ministry said in a notification issued on Thursday. While the move is expected to bring some relief to the financially distressed aviation industry, one of the most affected industries because of the coronavirus pandemic, it would also make air travel costlier at least till March 31.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the government had imposed fare restrictions, via bands, when it reopened air travel in May. The restrictions for flights were imposed to make sure that dynamic pricing won’t affect passengers.
In the first such band, there were flights with less than 40-minute duration. The lower limit for this band has now been increased to Rs 2,200 from earlier Rs 2,000. Similarly, the upper limit for this band has now been set at Rs 7,800. It was earlier at Rs 6,000.
The fresh upper and lower limits for subsequent bands are – Rs 2,800-Rs 9,800 for flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, Rs 3,300-Rs 11,700 for 60-90 minutes, Rs 3,900-Rs 13,000 for 90-120 minutes, Rs 5,000-Rs 16,900 for 120-150 minutes, Rs 6,100-Rs 20,400 for 150-180 minutes, Rs 7,200-Rs 24,200 for 180-210 minutes.
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Before the latest increase in the cap on airfares, the lower and upper limits were as follows – Rs 2,500-Rs 7,500; Rs 3,000-Rs 9,000; Rs 3,500-Rs 10,000; Rs 4,500-Rs 13,000; Rs 5,500-Rs 15,700 and Rs 6,500-Rs 18,600, respectively.
According to the ministry, the new limits will be applicable up to March 31 or until further orders. Earlier in January, the govt had allowed airlines to sell only 20 per cent of the air tickets below the average fare.
Airline executives are happy with the latest decision but they are of the view that the government should soon do away with the restrictions. “This increase in the upper and lower cap is a relief naturally as we are facing fuel prices rise. The decision will allow us to raise base fare as per the new median range,” an official of a low-cost airline was quoted as saying in the report.