Airlines advised not to hike fares: DGCA

May 11th, 2012 - 3:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Amidst crises in Air India and Kingfisher Airlines, the aviation regulator has warned other airlines not to hike fares, a day after the Rajya Sabha was rocked over the issue of rising cost of air travel.

“We have advised the airlines not to go ahead with the fare hike. There is no current reason for such a hike as the operating costs have not increased. We are very closely monitoring the situation. No airline will be allowed to take undue advantage of the situation,” a senior official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told IANS here.

“Our fare monitoring cell is keeping a watch over the prices all the time. Airlines have to display accurate fares all the time,” the official said adding that action would be taken against any airline which indulges in these activities under Rule 135 of Aircraft Rules of 1937.

The development comes as national carrier Air India and Kingfisher Airlines are both facing employee-unrest and have cancelled several flights.

Air India had to even stop bookings on some of its ultra long-haul routes till May 15, effectively cancelling more than 15 flights per day to major sectors such as the US, Europe, and some other destinations like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The airline has also moved petitions in Supreme Court and Delhi High Court and has sacked around 46 pilots in the last few days.

Kingfisher Airlines had to cancel nearly 17 flights flights from New Delhi Thursday to various domestic destinations as a group of pilots called in sick.

The pilots are said to be protesting against non-payment of salaries, which were supposed to have been paid on May 9. Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya had written to the staff assuring them that their dues would be paid on May 9.

The Rajya Sabha was rocked over the issue Thursday, when several members expressed concern over exorbitant increase in air fares. The government had promised to look into the issue.

Raising the issue in the zero hour, Bharatiya Janata Party member Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said passengers were facing harassment due to cancellation of Air India flights on one hand and hike in fares by private airlines on the other.

Naqvi said the private airlines were taking advantage of the situation and exploiting passengers by exorbitantly raising fares, even more than doubling ticket costs.

“There have been incidents where airlines have hiked the fare even after the tickets have been bought months ago… they don’t allow passengers to board unless they pay the extra fare,” Naqvi said.

He was joined by several other members. Union minister Harish Rawat said he shared the concern of the members and assured that he will take up the issue with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.

“We share the concerns of all the members… The matter has been brought to the notice of the civil aviation minister and I hope some concrete steps will be taken and private airlines told to resist from such activities,” said Rawat.

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