Govt Mulls Over Removing Fare Limit, Occupancy Limit For All Domestic Flights; Will Air Travel Become Expensive?
Last week, we informed you of an increase in the ceiling and floor prices of price bands on airfare.
Currently, airlines are operating at only 80% of their capacity, as guided by the government.
According to the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, the government is likely to remove the existing price bands on airfare, due to an increase of passenger traffic in the upcoming season, in sight.
He also informed that in conjunction with the chances of removing the price slabs, the ministry could also do away with some restrictions for air travel.
Price Bands Could be Withdrawn
The ministry of civil aviation had set a price band on airfare with upper and lower caps, on resuming domestic air travel across the country on May 25, 2020, after a hiatus of two months due to the Covid-19 induced travel restrictions.
These price bands were introduced to keep a check on airlines charging exorbitant prices from travelers in a time when passenger capacity is at its least, and to ensure no predatory pricing among the airlines.
On February 11, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued an order to increase the upper and lower price caps on airfare by up to 30%.
However, the aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri has time and again confirmed that the fare band on domestic flights is not here to stay; it is just the need of the hour.
He has also stated that whenever airlines start operating at their pre-Covid capacity levels, the air price bands will be removed.
Now, with domestic air traffic increasing rapidly, reaching about 3 lakh passengers a day, Puri states that the headcount is expected to increase more in the upcoming summer season.
Thus, the government may remove the fare band along with lifting other restrictions, informs Puri in a response to queries at the meeting of his ministry’s consultative committee on Thursday.
He also explained to the Members of Parliament about various steps taken by this ministry during the COVID-9 pandemic for the benefit of people as well as the aviation sector, states Moneycontrol.
He informed about the fare bands introduced with floor price and ceiling price. He further said that in the summer schedule, as domestic traffic would increase more, the fare bands and some other restrictions are likely to be done away with.