The civil aviation ministry on Tuesday asked airlines to suggest models for self regulation to rationalise air fares both on domestic and international routes. The move comes on the back drop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing ‘serious concern’ over the steep hike in airfares, particularly during the festive season.
Senior officials in the ministry of civil aviation met representatives from the airline industry on Tuesday. Aviation is the second sector after telecom where the PMO has stepped in to provide better experience to consumers. During the PM’s visit to UAE in August, people raised the issue of high fares to India during the festive season.
Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said, “We have asked the airlines to come up with a model to ensure that fares do not go unreasonably high. The airlines have been asked to come back with their respective models and this will be discussed again after a period of 8 to 10 days.”
He informed that there can be multiple methods adopted to achieve the objective of rationalising air fares. “Someone suggested during the meeting that the airlines add capacity during the festive season to control fares. So, model could be like these but we need to discuss all of it after the airlines come back with their models,” added Raju.
In the meeting attended by senior airlines officials including SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh and AirAsia CEO and MD Mittu Chandilya among others, the airlines are learnt to have told the government that fares have come down during the past one year by over 20 per cent. The government, however, countered it by saying that there is a perception that the fares continue to remain high and the decline has not been in sync with the fall in ATF price during the period.