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Aviation ministry to look into air fares structure

The civil aviation ministry on Wednesday said it has decided to set up a working group to study and recommend a regulatory framework for air fares to protect consumer interests.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2010 20:25 IST

The civil aviation ministry on Wednesday said it has decided to set up a working group to study and recommend a regulatory framework for air fares to protect consumer interests.

"(The ministry) has decided to set up a working group on regulatory framework to protect consumer interest, including disclosure of tariffs and conditions of service by domestic airlines," an official statement of the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the group will examine the existing system of passenger fare and the manner in which prices are disclosed to the public.

"The group shall identify areas where disclosure of tariffs and conditions of service by scheduled domestic airlines require further improvement in promoting transparency with a view to protect interests of consumers," the statement said.

The ministry also said that the group on its findings will recommend measures to ensure transparency in the tariffs and the manner in which these are disclosed to the public.

Besides studying the current fares structure, the group will look at international practices in terms of air tariff structure and transparency.

"The group shall recommend measures that may be required to be taken to raise consumer awareness towards passenger rights," it said.

The statement said that DGCA Director General EAK Bharat Bhushan would lead the group as its chairman. Representatives of both full-service carriers and low-cost carriers, passenger association, travel agents association and independent experts would be members of the group.

The decision to set up the working group was taken on December 13 in the first meeting of the newly formed Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council (CAEAC).

The advisory council was formed after Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel rejected a proposal by domestic airlines for a new system of air fares on December 3. He then announced the formation of an economic advisory council to look into tariff related issues.

The government took the decision after the aviation regulator received complaints about airlines charging exorbitant rates for last-minute bookings, sometimes as high as 200% of the normal fares.

The working group is expected to submit its first report on or before December 30 to the civil aviation ministry.