Regulator asks airlines to explain fare hikes (Lead)

February 11th, 2009 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) After Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Wednesday morning warned airline operators against “cartelisation”, the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), asked them to explain their fare hikes.
The move came a day after Indian carriers, including budget airlines, withdrew promotional fares and hiked the base tariff. Among them was the state-owned Air India, which only months earlier announced lowest Rs.99 base promotional fare on its domestic routes.

“We have asked all airlines to provide us the details concerning the air fare hike yesterday (Tuesday). We will take action against them, if required, on the basis of their reports,” a DGCA spokesperson said.

Earlier in the day, Minister Praful Patel warned operators against “cartelisation”.

The government was against any cartelisation among airlines, he said and added: “We will watch and take strict action in any such case.”

The minister in his officially issued statement assured that the national carrier Air India would “never be a part” of any move that is tantamount to cartelisation. “We will ensure that competitive pricing ensures better prices to the passengers.”

Patel had made a similar statement when two dominant carriers - Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines - announced “synergising” their operations to tide over the difficult times facing the Indian aviation space.

This had led to fears of cartelisation.

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