The Ministry of Civil Aviation is scheduled to hold a review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Ahead of the meeting, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Civil Aviation Minister, stated on Wednesday that airfares on select routes with previously high prices have decreased by 14 per cent to 60 per cent following the issuance of an advisory to airlines.
According to sources, top officials from the Ministry are expected to attend the meeting with the Prime Minister, although specific details were not disclosed.
Since Go First temporarily suspended operations on May 3, airfares on the 300 daily flights have surged. Additionally, ongoing conflicts in Manipur further contributed to increased airfares in that region. Adding to the challenges, airfares on routes from Bhubaneshwar skyrocketed due to a recent train accident in Odisha that claimed 275 lives.
Addressing these concerns, Scindia attributed the surge in airfares to an unprecedented demand during the summer travel season. The suspension of Go First operations has also impacted various routes, particularly Srinagar, Pune, and Leh.
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During a meeting with the Airlines Advisory Group on Monday, Scindia emphasised the importance of maintaining reasonable ticket prices after the resumption of domestic air travel following Covid-induced lockdowns. He conveyed a clear message to airlines about the need to keep maximum ticket prices within an acceptable range. The Minister reiterated that the government cannot allow prices to escalate beyond justifiable limits, and assured that fare-monitoring is being conducted daily
Go First revival
Regarding Go First, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is evaluating the airline’s revival plan. The Minister mentioned that DGCA had raised some queries and GoFirst is expected to respond. Once the DGCA approves the plan, progress can be made.
He also acknowledged the deregulated nature of India’s aviation sector, stating that the government’s role is that of a facilitator. While discussing Go First and Jet Airways, he highlighted the success stories of new airlines like Akasa and small regional carriers. He expressed hope that more airlines would come forward in the future
Scindia highlighted the remarkable growth of India’s aviation sector in the past nine years. India has now become the world’s third-largest aviation market, with a staggering 130 per cent increase in domestic air travel, equivalent to approximately 145 million passengers annually. International passenger movement has also shown a significant upswing, with a 50 percent increase, resulting in around 70 million passengers traveling internationally each year.
The Civil Aviation minister projected that India would have over 200 airports within the next five years. Additionally, a leasing process for 29 aircraft at Gift City, a planned financial and technology hub in Gujarat, is currently underway.