Jet,AI roll back fares after Patel takes ‘serious note’

Two major domestic airlines rolled back the fare hikes they announced yesterday,quickly falling in line after Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel warned the carriers against acting like a cartel to jack up tariffs....

Written by Smita Aggarwal | New Delhi | Published: February 12, 2009 1:31:39 am

Two major domestic airlines rolled back the fare hikes they announced yesterday,quickly falling in line after Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel warned the carriers against acting like a cartel to jack up tariffs.

The government was against cartelisation,and no attempt at forming one would be tolerated,Patel told The Indian Express. “We have taken serious note of the jump in fares. Air India will act as a counter-check against any such attempts to ensure that competitive pricing ensures a better deal for passengers.”

After keeping fares low for about a month in a global atmosphere of plunging oil prices,all full-service and low-cost domestic airlines including Air India announced a sudden 40-100 per cent increase in fares on Tuesday. Budget carriers SpiceJet,IndiGo and GoAir scrapped the promotional Re 1-Rs 99 base fares,and raised the fuel surcharge by around Rs 800. This,despite fuel prices having dropped by around Rs 1,000/kl in the fortnightly revision of prices on February 1.

On Wednesday,Jet Airways and its low-cost subsidiary JetLite introduced Rs 300 and Re 1 basic fares respectively under a 30-day advance purchase scheme valid till April 30. Air India announced that attractive fare packages will continue to be on offer to make flying affordable.

“We have sought details regarding the reasoning and rationale behind the fare hike. Once we get the facts and airlines’ justification for increasing the fares,we will act if required,” DGCA director general Naseem Zaidi said. The DGCA letter is only advisory in nature.

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