Tickets for domestic flights are set to cost more from December 1 but how much it is going to hurt fliers is not certain yet.
On November 29, the civil aviation ministry sent out a notification introducing a levy of Rs7,500 to Rs8,500 on all domestic flights. The ministry had earlier announced that the fee was introduced to subsidise short air shuttle services across the country.
“The directive states that the levy will depend on the travel distance but it is not clear how airlines will split the additional cost,” said a Colaba-based travel agent. The biggest packed domestic flight in India, for instance has a maximum of 190-odd seats. So if the new burden on the longest flight had to be split would come about Rs50 to Rs60, added experts. The ministry’s regional connectivity scheme also known as Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), capped airfares at Rs1,420 for flights up to 175km. For flights up to 800km the fare was capped at Rs3,500, the order stated.
For instance, travellers from Mumbai to Pune could buy a ticket for Rs2,500 while on a shared cab, they have to shell out about Rs1,250, said travel operators.
While the ministry said that at least six airlines had written to them proposing participation in operations under the scheme, it did not reveal their identity. Officials from Jet Airways said that they were evaluating the scheme. “We are evaluating the deployment of our ATR fleet under the scheme but it is too early to comment on it,” said Garang Shetty, whole time director, Jet Airways.