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Patel to haul up overpriced private airlines

india Updated: Dec 03, 2010 02:40 IST
Tushar Srivastava
Tushar Srivastava
Hindustan Times
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The government suspects some private airlines of having formed a cartel to artificially keep airfares at high levels and is considering approaching the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against them.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel has decided to come down heavily on those engaged in “predatory pricing” of tickets.

Patel has called a meeting of his top officials on Friday. “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will take strict action against errant airlines,” Patel told HT.

CCI is government’s anti-trust body, which is empowered to rule on monopolistic practices, predatory pricing and formation of cartels by firms.

“Air India will lead the way by offering competitive and transparent fares,” Patel said.

After airfares on certain routes, including the Delhi-Mumbai route, increased by as much as 300% post-Diwali, the DGCA had asked airlines to furnish it a copy of the route-wise tariff across their network. The operators have since done so but Patel is not happy.

“What has been announced is not enough,” he said. Sources said low-cost carriers had quoted fares of over R20,000 on certain routes, while the full service carriers would charge over R35,000 on some routes.

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