Irked with the recent hike in ticket cancellation charges by IndiGo, frequent air travellers have said the government should have some control over airfares and other charges of domestic airlines.
The Air Passenger Association of India (APAI), a non-profit body formed by frequent fliers, has approached the civil aviation ministry to appoint a watchdog that can regulate airfares in the country.
The budget airline, which caters to almost four out of 10 domestic fliers, revised its cancellation-cum-rebooking policy from April 1.
The APAI decided to approach the ministry after the country’s air safety regulator allegedly turned down its request.
“We had written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to regulate abrupt fares changes by airlines such as this one, but they said they are not empowered to control fares. If that is the case, the ministry should think of an alternative,” said Sudhakar Reddy, national president, APAI.
The former civil aviation minister Ajit Singh’s office had proposed replacing the DGCA with a new body, named the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which had been envisaged as an autonomous institution.
“If the DGCA cannot be empowered, the government should ensure the proposed CAA has some control over airfares,” said Reddy.
Talking about the revision in Indigo’s cancellation policy, Reddy said it was ridiculous to hike cancellation charges up to Rs 2,250, when airlines are selling discounted tickets at prices lower than air-conditioned long-distance train tickets.
“The move reflects misuse of monopoly. There has to be some regulation.”
The Indigo Airlines spokesperson did not respond to HT’s calls on the issue.
According to the new policy, a passenger cancelling a ticket more than a month before the date of travel will be charged Rs 1,250
But the traveller will have to pay Rs 2, 250 if the ticket is cancelled up to 48 hours before the journey
Earlier, the airline charged a flat cancellation charge of Rs 1,500.
Cancellation charges for other airlines
Jet Airways: Rs 1,575 to Rs 2,099 (depending on the price band of ticket)
GoAir: Rs 1,500
SpiceJet Airlines: Rs 1,500
Vistara: Rs 1,050 to Rs 1,575