Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that the fixed fare bands for domestic flights cannot be permanent, the Hindustan Times reported. He added that a cap on air ticket prices will not be required when flights begin operating at full capacity.
Puri said that the ceiling on airfares was introduced to ensure that the passengers were not overcharged. This was done when domestic flight services resumed in India in May during the coronavirus crisis. The application of air fare bands was extended till February 24 this year.
“The floor and ceiling price was an extraordinary measure which was necessitated by am extraordinary situation which we found ourselves in,” Puri was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “It is designed to ensure that airlines in a situation of limited availability did not charge exorbitant prices. It is not our intention and can not be in an open market deregulated situation to have the fare band made a permanent feature.”
When All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP M Thambidurai mentioned that he paid an exorbitant price for a Chennai to Delhi flight, Puri said that the cap only applied to airfares for the economy class, not the business class.
The civil aviation minister also told the Rajya Sabha that the decision to allow flights to operate at more than 80% capacity will depend upon the behaviour of the coronavirus, The Hindu reported.
Puri was also asked about the total loss that the aviation industry suffered because of the coronavirus crisis. “Airline industry is difficult to define, it includes airports and air carriers as well,” Puri said in response. “Nobody has an overall figure of the loss but it is reviving now.”