Parl panel to grill aviation brass on fares, levies

During the two-day deliberations, members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, headed by Trinamool Congress member Derek O’Brien, will also discuss with top officials issues related to disinvestment in Air India.

In June last year, the Union Cabinet had given its in-principle nod to divest stakes in Air India but the debt-laden state-owned carrier failed to get any bidder. 

CMD of Air India Pradeep Singh Kharola and Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey have been called to hear their views on the exorbitant increase in the excess luggage charges by different airlines and the issue of dynamic pricing of air tickets.

Except for Air India in which economy class domestic flyers can check-in with up to 25 kg without any charge, all private airlines levy extra charges for luggage more than 15 kg.

Only this month, Indigo, which has the largest chunk of domestic flyers, raised the baggage charges up to 33 % more if passengers carried more than the allowed 15 kg baggage.

Till August last year airlines were bound by an order of Directorate General of Civil Aviation to charge a maximum of Rs 500 for the first five kg of extra luggage beyond the 15-kg limit for domestic flyers at the rate of Rs 100 per extra kg.

Baggage charges

However, soon after the Delhi High Court set aside the DGCA order that capped excess baggage charge, private airlines Indigo and Spicejet that control more than half of the domestic segment of flyers had increased their baggage charges, reverting to the rates they were charging prior to the DGCA order, which ranged from Rs 220 to Rs 350 per kg.

Of late there have been complaints about dynamic pricing, which was introduced in India by the erstwhile private airline Air Deccan, later taken over by Kingfisher. The latter shut down in 2012.

Civil Aviation Ministry has for some time been deliberating on addressing the problem of excessively high airfares faced by last-minute flyers travelling due to emergencies. There have been complaints that the fares for tickets booked at last minute have on many occasions gone up absurdly high due to dynamic pricing.

The ministry had briefly discussed the viability of capping the economy class fare at Rs 20,000 but the idea was dropped.

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Parl panel to grill aviation brass on fares, levies

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