Patel rejects airlines proposal for hike in air fares

December 3rd, 2010 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Friday rejected a proposal for a massive hike in their fares by the domestic airlines.

“The airlines did come back with some kind of answer (on air fares), the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is certainly not satified with the answer provided by most of the airlines,” Patel said while referring to the proposal sent by the airline industry to the aviation watchdog.

He said the DGCA would like to know from the airlines in a more transparent and definitive way the issue of air fares being charged to passengers.

According to him, the DGCA was not a price determining agency but at the same time it could not remain a helpless body.

“We are not a fare determining body or authority but we are also not a helpless regulatory authority, therefore we would like to strike a fine balance,” Patel added.

Patel’s comments come as the airline industry, which was served notice by the DGCA on air fares, submitted a proposal which determined prices based on the distance travelled between destinations.

“We have submitted a proposal to the DGCA regarding the prices on various routes on slabs which are based on distances of the destinations,” an official with a leading low cost carrier (LCC) told IANS.

According to him, the airlines have proposed price bands on four distance-based slabs, which include distances like up to 750 km, 750-1,000 km, 1,000-1,400 km and over 1,400 km.

The new proposed fares for distances up to 750 km on a LCC were set at Rs.2,200, while the maximum fare on a full service carrier (FSC) was put at Rs.13,000.

For distances between 750-1,000 km the minimum ticket price is mooted at Rs.3,000 (LCC) - Rs 20,000 (FSC); between 1,000-1,400 km: Rs.4,000 (LCC) - Rs.25,000 (FSC); and over 1,400 km: Rs.5,000 (LCC) - Rs.40,000 (FSC).

Earlier, the DGCA had issued notices to several airlines on ticket prices, and their replies were expected by Dec 1.

“We are working on a transparency plan on the prices so that the passengers could be made aware of them. Aware passengers are the best regulation,” Director General of Civil Aviation Dr. Nasim Zaidi said here.

The aviation regulator also established a Tariff Analysis Unit to keep a watch on the fare levels on a route-wise basis across airlines on a regular basis.

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