In order to put a curb to all the airfare price race that is been exploding for certain locations in the recent times, owing to the grounding of one of the budget-friendly airlines, GoFirst, and the usual ticket rush during the summers, Ministry of Civil Aviation has voiced out to all the concerned airlines to stop contesting on the prices, and bring them down to reasonable and affordable levels for every citizen.
Further, the Ministry headed by Jyotiraditya Scindia also declared that all airfares would be monitored by the DGCA, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
The Ministry has further declared that all airlines should sit together to ensure a pricing for their respective airlines which would be a modest fare across the different fare codes i.e., within the high Reservation Booking Designators (RBDs).
This self monitoring mechanism on part of the airline players would be deeply kept under surveillance by the DGCA, encouraging the airfare prices to stagger down to lower levels, especially in those areas which were reportedly serviced by GoFirst in the past.
A Fireball Spike Pace
Airlines across India have been noticed to increase their airfares rapidly, much like an athletic contest, as the temperatures all over the globe keeps on hitting its peak high.
It appears to be that the ‘El Nino‘ has not just affected the monsoons and the agriculture, but the airfares as well!
With little or no drizzling, people residing in the hotter areas generally tend to hike up to the mountains for the relief, in order to beat the heat.
On the contrary, it is ironical to notice that the surging airfares are mostly eating up their fat purses, set aside the heat waves and the subsequent bill payments.
The tourist hotspots, primarily covered by the GoFirst Airlines, had been uninterruptedly hiked up by several credits, considering the ultimate rush of the summer season, much to the bewilderment of the general public.
As the pandemic restrictions have been eased out, the domestic air travel across the nation has seen an upswing with more than 128.88 lakh passengers being flown only in the month of April 2023.
Scindia had informed the Lok Sabha on March 16 that owing to the deregulation of the Indian airline sector, the airfares were neither regulated or established by the government, and are purely market-driven that runs in multiple buckets or RBDs to be in par with the global trend.
The airlines are seen to fix the price of the flight tickets based on the demand, market value, seasonality among others, whilst the surge is noted as the demand for seats escalate and lower fare buckets sells like hot cakes as soon as the bookings open.
The key routes which GoFirst Airlines used to cover have witnessed an abnormal sprawling in their air fares, as has been uncovered in many of the flight booking sites.
For instance, Rs. 36,000 was claimed for a Delhi-Leh one way trip, while Mumbai-Leh showed up a lowest price of Rs. 17,000 which went up to the price of Rs. 35,000 for some airlines. The popular GoFirst route, Delhi-Srinagar air fare ranged from Rs. 11,600 to Rs. 26,700 on a low to high figure. Mumbai-Jammu carried the price tag of Rs. 52,600 as its highest.
Last minute fares on routes like Delhi-Pune and Ahmedabad-Delhi, where GoFirst had a strong presence, have also become dearer, jumping up to Rs. 16,000 in both cases from the meagre value of Rs. 6000 and Rs. 3000 in April last week.
The hour long meeting between the Airline Advisory Board and the MoCA Minister took place after concerns were being raised of the irrational price hikes of airlines, in spite of the figures trimming down for the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF).
This comes at the backdrop of many passengers complaining about the skyrocketing air fares to the government through social media handles, following the voluntary insolvency of GoFirst.
GoFirst held a share of 6.9 per cent in the domestic aviation market of India, and carried around 30,000 passengers per day basis, totaling to an average of 900,000 a month. The crisis-hit Wadia Group-backed airlines had suspended its operations from 3 May 2023, and is on the talks of resuming its flights.
The announcement further attributes to the discrepancies on part of the airline industry as they increased the charges hugely to and fro from Manipur after sporadic violence stuck among the ethnic groups, some of them even rescheduling their flights or temporarily waiving off extra airfare charges.
The Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Scindia, also proclaimed that air tickets are required to be priced reasonably by all airlines, following the deadly train tragedy that shook the country in Odisha, and under humanitarian grounds cost of all the aircrafts travelling to and fro from Bhubaneswar needs to be kept within control.
In the wake of any catastrophic incidents in the country, airline players were asked to keep a tight check on the airfare prices, and prevent them from surging under such circumstances.
Scindia further reinstated that specially to the families of the deceased involved in the unfortunate calamity, airlines are being advised to furnish with free cargo (carriage) services.
Proofread & Published By Naveenika Chauhan