Government caps minimum and maximum domestic air fares till August 24

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 21, 2020

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. File photo   -  Kamal Narang

The government has decided to cap the minimum and maximum fares for domestic flights for the next three months — until August 24 midnight. The domestic airlines have been permitted to take off from May 25 and will be allowed to operate one-third of the flights they had operated earlier.

“We have studied this (air fares). We have looked at corresponding rail fares. Right from the start, our objective has been that air travel should become affordable for all our citizens. I think we have set a realistic figure both in terms of lower and upper level. Affordability is one criteria; we are equally conscious of the fact that airlines operate on thin margins and that business models are based on high capital costs, and that they have costs because of aviation turbine fuel; we are trying to deal with all those things,” Hardeep Puri, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said on Thursday.

He added that flight routes will be classified into seven sections — starting with flights of duration of less than 40 minutes in the first section, and going up to flights of 180 minutes to 210 minutes in the seventh category.

The seven sections

“These seven sections cover most of the domestic flights that will be operated. So, say, on the Delhi-Mumbai sector, which is the busiest, the minimum fare will be ₹3,500 and the maximum ₹10,000,” the Minister said. The actual cost of the one-way ticket will be slightly higher as the passenger will have to bear the cost of User Development Fund, the Security fee and GST.

Pradeep Kharola, Secretary, Civil Aviation, added that while the upper and lower level for a one-way flight ticket has been stipulated, the government has also stated that at least 40 per cent of the seats have to be sold at a fare that is less than the mid-way point of band, which is approximately ₹6,700 or below in case of a one-way Delhi-Mumbai flight ticket.

“This is being done to ensure that fares do not go out of control and are reasonable for airlines also,” the Secretary said.

Bookings for the flights that resume from May 25 are expected to begin on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, IndiGo has been authorised to operate 97 Kerala repatriation flights to West Asia, the airline announced on Thursday. These include 36 flights from Saudi Arabia, 28 from Doha, 23 from Kuwait and 10 from Muscat. This is more than half the 180 repatriation flights allotted to a private airline, IndiGo said in a statement.

Published on May 21, 2020

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