In a move that is being seen as a step towards the government regulating airfares, the Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked airlines to furnish information on the number of seats sold on highest and lowest fare buckets for each sector.
The DGCA, which has already set up a Tariff Monitoring Unit to monitor airfares on certain routes selected on random basis to ensure that the airlines do not charge airfares outside the range declared by them, will closely monitor fares being charged by all domestic carriers for the next three months before the government decides its next move.
“The move is intended to check any predatory pricing or excessive fares being charged by any airline,” an official said.
The government, meanwhile, plans to replace the 5 year/20 aircraft aviation rule, that bars Indian carriers from starting international operations till they have a fleet of 20 aircraft and domestic flying experience of five years, with a simpler rule that could see new airlines start flying abroad within two-and-a-half years of launching operations.
Aviation ministry sources said that under the new rules all airlines must complete one DGCA safety audit before they can start international operations. Also, they should have an accident-free record and operate a specified number of flights to remote areas.
“The proposed rule has to be cleared by the cabinet,” an official said.
“The revision of the existing 5/20 rule as well as route dispersal guidelines are under active consideration of the government,” civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had told Parliament last week.