The civil aviation ministry has cited data showing low average prices of air tickets to a parliamentary panel and said that it has no plans of controlling the ticket prices. Civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey’s reply to the Parliament’s consumer affairs panel comes after another House panel (on transport, tourism and culture) recommended the capping of fares. High air ticket prices, especially during peak season or holidays, have often hit the headlines, but deposing at the meeting of the consumer affairs panel on January 12, Choubey said: “The average price is closer to the bottom fare. We have analysed 12 routes to see where does the average fare stands between the highest and the lowest fare rates. Only 3-4% tickets are sold in the highest fare bracket.”When Congress MP from Haryana Shadi Lal Batra remarked that he had to shell out Rs 64,000 to buy a ticket, Choubey politely reminded him that had he bought his ticket in advance, he could have got it for Rs 2,000. “You should have noticed advertisements that if you buy tickets today and fly later, you will get tickets from Delhi to Mumbai for Rs 2,000. If a prudent traveller plans his journey sufficiently in advance, he will get very good fares. “But if tickets are bought at the eleventh hour, then (the) demand-supply (equation) operates there,” he told the panel. Reminding the lawmakers that price regulation is to be used only when the market fails, Choubey said in India prices were actually falling. The civil aviation ministry regularly asks airlines for information on prices, he admitted, but doesn’t get into regulating them. “If demand is high but seats are limited, then the government does not step into that. This is presently the practice all over the world and it is also the practice followed in India,” the secretary said, India’s civil aviation sector has recorded growth of 17% to 20% in the last three years, highest in the world. China’s growth rate is 12%. In 2014, 395 aircraft were in service in the domestic sector. But in last three years, all domestic airlines put together have ordered 900 aircraft.Choubey pointed out that civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju had to spend Rs 10,000 to come to Delhi from Vijaywada a few years ago. Now, he can buy tickets at Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000, he added.