Aviation regulator DGCA today directed all airlines to immediately withdraw from a scheme under which travel portals offer discounted air tickets but do not reveal the name of the carrier till the payment is made by the customer.
Known travel portals have been offering ‘opaque fares’ which enables a customer to buy highly discounted tickets without knowing the carrier’s name until he or she makes the full payment.
In a notice to all Indian carriers,the Directorate General of Civil Aviation directed them “to immediately withdraw participation in any such scheme where the complete information about the carrier is not revealed upfront.”
The notice by DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan said the regulator was aware “that airlines are participating in a special fare offered by travel portals namely ‘opaque fares’ where the identity of neither the carrier nor the flight details are revealed till the payment is through and ticketing done.”
This,it said,violated provisions of the 1937 Aircraft Rules and other circulars relating to transparency in the display of air fares.
DGCA said it was essential to ensure absolute transparency in display of airfares by airlines and agents in order to help the end-user make an informed choice.
When contacted,officials of some leading travel portals said the airlines themselves had evolved the scheme.
Terming it as a win-win model for both airlines and customers,they said besides cheap fares,it also helped in selling maximum flight seats which were a perishable commodity.