Hours after Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha compared the price of air travel with auto rickshaw travel on Tuesday, Sinha clarified that airfare in India is very affordable and he did not imply that people use airplanes for short distances.
“So on a per km basis our airfare is among lowest in the world. I am not implying you use planes for short distances. Its just to emphasise how affordable the fares are that when you compare them with other means of transport, you find that they’re quite affordable,” clarified Sinha.
Earlier in the day, Sinha had stated that airfare is cheaper than travelling by an auto-rickshaw in the country. He, of course, explained how, breaking down the expense, Sinha said while auto-rickshaws in India charge Rs 5 per kilometre, airlines, on the other hand, charge you Rs. 4 per kilometre.
“Today airfare is less than that of an auto-rickshaw. You’ll ask how is that possible? When two people take an auto-rickshaw they pay a fare of Rs 10 which means they’re charged Rs 5/km but when you go by air you are charged Rs 4/km,” said Sinha.
A similar analogy was drawn earlier this year by Sinha while addressing the 27th International Management Conference of the Indore Management Association (IMA).
“These days, passengers spend only Rs five per kilometre on air travel from Indore to Delhi. But if you take an autorickshaw in this city, then you need to spend a relatively higher price of Rs eight to ten per kilometre,” Sinha had said in February.
Earlier, Sinha had said that four years ago, 11 crore people were travelling by air which was likely to reach 20 crore by the end of the fiscal year. He had also spelled out government’s intentions to increase the number of people using air travel by five times to 100 crore in the near future.
Taking a dig at the ‘pakodawala’ comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, doing rounds in the media then, Sinha had promoted innovation in entrepreneurship to provide affordable services to common man, so that “some ‘pakodawala’ at Hazaribagh one day could start a fast food chain like McDonald’s.”