Airfares remained ‘sustainable’ even after COVID, surging fuel prices: Scindia
Scindia said that the number of air passengers had increased from 60 million in 2014 to 145 million today, and expressed his conviction that this figure would triple to 420 million by 2030 and credited this to the ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ (UDAAN) scheme
Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday said that airplane ticket prices were being monitored by the government and that the prices had remained “sustainable” despite the blow dealt to the industry by COVID-19 and surging fuel prices.
He was responding to the question raised in the Lok Sabha on high airfares and whether the government is monitoring the tariff.
Scindia said airfare was a seasonal industry, both in India and globally, which led to a fluctuation in ticket fares, but noted that airfares were competitive with the fares of 1st AC train tickets today.
He said that the civil aviation is a deregulated sector and despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising jet fuel cost, airfares have not increased in the same proportion.
“In the last three years, airlines have made losses of close to between Rs.55,000 crore to Rs.1,30,000 crore on an annual basis. COVID has destroyed the financial viability of airlines,” he said. Despite this, he said, airfares remained “sustainable”.
Scindia said that the number of air passengers had increased from 60 million in 2014 to 145 million today, and expressed his conviction that this figure would triple to 420 million by 2030 and credited this to the ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ (UDAAN) scheme, which increased air connectivity to remote or isolated parts of the country. This scheme had allowed 10.3 million Indians to fly for the first time, Scindia said.
Indian Union Muslim League MP Muhammad Basheer requested the aviation minister to provide relief to working-class Malayali migrant workers in the Gulf.
To this, Scindia said that all four airports in Kerala had excellent international connectivity, with Kochi and Calicut having 564 and 416 international flights, respectively, per week. He said that the government had requested Indian airlines to increase their flights from South Indian cities to the Middle East.
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