The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked airlines to ensure that air tickets don’t get priced out of passenger budgets during the festival season, which sees a surge in demand.
The October-December quarter has traditionally been peak-time for domestic travel in India. DGCA chief EK Bharat Bhushan has instructed that there should be no upward revision in airfares “as there is no increase in cost of operations”.
DGCA is keeping a close tab on fares in view of last year when airfares on certain routes such as Delhi-Mumbai soared hit post-Diwali highs of 300%.
Subsequently the regulator had issued instructions that airlines submit route-wise tariffs across networks in various fare categories every month. Also, any significant change in the filed tariff had to be reported to DGCA within 24 hours.
“It has been observed that although airfares are within the fare band, yet they are on the higher side on account of festive season due to demand for seat. Airlines have been directed to ensure that fares remain well within the band filed with DGCA,” an official said.
“Airlines sell tickets below cost to show higher yield for most of the year,” said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation expert.
“Then they fleece passengers with unreasonable fares during festivals. Controlling fares in a free market is not correct, but if airlines protest about restrictions, they should also not approach the government when they are in crises.”