DGCA to SpiceJet: Withdraw the one-plus-one ticket offer

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 03, 2020

SpiceJet has withdrawn its limited time 1+1 offer under which the airline was offering one-way base fares starting at ₹899 (excluding taxes) and a voucher of an equivalent amount subject to a cap of ₹2,000, after the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) objected to it.

The five-day 1+1 sale offer was launched on Monday and travellers could fly till March 31 next year on tickets brought under the scheme.

The scheme was pulled back early on Monday morning and hardly any tickets were sold, sources indicated.

Sources in the DGCA said the airline had been asked to withdraw the scheme to keep it simple for the travelling public as the airline was also offering free flight vouchers with every ticket being booked.

“Voucher value will be equivalent to the base fare of your ticket or ₹2,000, whichever is lower. Flight vouchers will be e-delivered to eligible passengers within 48 hours of booking the sale fare and can be redeemed for both domestic and international bookings,” the airline had said in its promotional material.

Cap on fare

Industry watchers say that the vouchers could have violated the minimum fare cap which the government has in place for flights being operated and that could be one reason for the DGCA asking SpiceJet to withdraw the sale offer.

When the flying restarted on May 25, the government classified domestic flight routes into seven sections — starting with flights of less than 40 minutes in the first section, and going up to flights of 180 minutes and 210 minutes in the seventh category.

The government also capped the fares at the lower and higher levels and mandated that at least 40 per cent of the seats had to be sold at a fare that was less than the mid-point of the band, which is approximately ₹6,700 or below in the case of a one-way Delhi-Mumbai ticket. Initially, the fare cap was till August 24 but recently the government extended it till November 24.

SpiceJet’s stand

In its defence, SpiceJet had told the DGCA that the ₹899 fares were only being offered on Regional Connectivity Services routes such as Hyderabad-Belagavi and return and Ahmedabad-Kishangarh return sectors where the fares are not capped.

“Both these are RCS routes and competition including IndiGo are selling all inclusive ₹1,099 both ways and similarly SpiceJet was selling ₹999 all inclusive fares,” the airline said.

It also claimed that IndiGo is offering reward points which is discount equivalent to minimum 5 per cent of the base fare and hence it is a clear violation of the government tariff. SpiceJet added that IndiGo is also offering 100 per cent cashback on flight bookings.

This, however, did not cut any ice with the DGCA.

Published on August 03, 2020

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