Expressing concern over fluctuating airfares over the past six months, several parliamentarians have written to the civil aviation ministry seeking regulation of ticket prices.
The ministry, however, is reluctant to intervene as any such move would be against the principle of a free market, sources said.
At present, airlines have the freedom to decide fares for the routes that they operate on, while the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation has a team that closely monitors airfares.
Sources said the aviation ministry received several letters from MPs across states, including Jammu and Kashmir, north-east India and Andaman and Nicobar, expressing concern over the pricing issue.
The MPs’ concern relates to domestic fares. “On international routes, airlines cannot charge exorbitant amounts as there is stiff competition from foreign carriers,” said an official.
Last year, the ministry circulated a note for internal discussion, suggesting that steps be taken to set maximum and minimum levels for the economy-class fares.
According to that note, it was suggested that economy-class fares be capped at Rs 20,000.
In the past, minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma has said there should be a mechanism to regulate “predatory” pricing of airlines.
The regulator had recently asked airlines last month to furnish information on the number of seats sold on highest and lowest fare buckets for each sector.