DGCA warns airlines against hiking fares

New Delhi: Noting that private airlines have suddenly raised fares by upto 20 per cent on certain sectors in view of Air India strike, DGCA today warned them against hiking fares beyond their band, saying the cost of operation has not undergone any major change over the past two months.

The DGCA order came in the wake of MPs raising the issue in Parliament yesterday and asking the government to act. "It has been brought to the notice of the DGCA through search of websites of airlines and media reports as well as feedback from air travellers that fares on certain high demand sectors have registered a sudden spurt, which is almost 15 to 20 per cent higher on various metro routes compared to a month ago," the DGCA said in its order.

It noted that the cost of operation of scheduled airlines on account of various constituent elements have not undergone any major change over the past two months. "In view of the above, all the scheduled domestic airlines are directed to ensure that fares offered on various sectors remain within the fare band uploaded on the website of respective airlines," the DGCA order said.

It asked the scheduled airlines to "ensure that no upward revision in tariff is effected due to ongoing industrial unrest in Air India and also surge in demand during this period."

The order said any violation of these directives will be dealt with under the provisions of Rule 135 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, which provides for intervention by the DGCA in case transparency in air fares is violated by any airline,

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had raised the issue in Rajya Sabha yesterday, saying passengers were facing harassment due to cancellation of Air India flights on one hand and hike in fares by private airlines on the other. He was joined by several other members.

Naqvi had said the private airlines were taking advantage of the situation and exploiting passengers by exorbitantly raising fares, even more than doubling ticket costs.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat then said the Government shared the concerns of members and assured them of steps to stop such airlines from taking advantage of the situation.