The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has warned airlines not raise airfares to unreasonable levels following a sudden spurt in prices of tickets due to a strike by Air India (AI) pilots. Kingfisher Airlines pilots, meanwhile, withdrew their stir after being promised that January salaries would be paid by May 15.
Hindustan Times had reported on Friday that international airfares had risen by as much as 20% following the AI crisis, which had led to mismatch in supply and demand during the peak travel season. The matter had also been raised in the Parliament on Thursday.
"It has been brought to the notice of the DGCA through search of websites of airlines and media reports as well as feedback from air travellers that fares on certain high demand sectors have registered a sudden spurt, which is almost 15% to 20% higher on various metro routes compared to a month ago," the regulator said in its order.
It noted that the cost of operation of scheduled airlines on account of various constituent elements have not undergone any major change over the past two months.
"In view of the above, all the scheduled domestic airlines are directed to ensure that fares offered on various sectors remain within the fare band uploaded on the website of respective airlines," the DGCA order said. The aviation regulator asked airlines to "ensure that no upward revision in tariff is effected due to ongoing industrial unrest in AI and also surge in demand during this period."
The order said any violation of these directives will be dealt with under the provisions of Rule 135 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, which provides for intervention by the DGCA in case transparency in air fares is violated by any airline.