DGCA to monitor changes in flight ticket prices

Regulator will not look into announced discount sales

DGCA to monitor changes in flight ticket prices

Amid complaints about high airfares, the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to monitor ticket prices for some time and asked airlines to provide highest and lowest fare buckets for each sector.

Though the DGCA or the government do not intend to regulate fares, the exercise is aimed at understanding how the tickets are priced and whether airlines are charging more money.
The decision comes days after the issue of “exorbitant” fares was raised in Parliament with Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien saying airlines are resorting to “extortion” of passengers.

The issue of airfare was raised during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha as well as during Question Hour in the past few days. Sources said the airlines have been asked to provide the percentage of tickets sold by them at highest and lowest fare buckets for each sector over the next few months. The fares will be analysed to see any noticeable change.

The aviation regulator will not analyse the discount sales launched by airlines. The government has maintained that the fares are always market driven and it cannot regulate them.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma recently informed the Lok Sabha that government does not fix airfares and airlines are free to fix reasonable tariff.

The DGCA has also set up a Tariff Monitoring Group in 2010 that monitors airfares on certain routes selected on random basis to ensure that the airlines do not charge airfares outside the range declared by them.

“The random analysis has shown that airfares remained well within the fare bucket uploaded by the airlines on the respective websites,” Sharma said.
Though the government does not interfere in the pricing, the Civil Aviation Ministry circulated a note late last year, saying there is a need to cap maximum economy class airfare at about Rs 20,000, beyond which airlines should not be allowed to charge, exploiting passengers’ urgency for travel due to various reasons.

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