The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Friday allowed domestic flight operators to provide fare concessions to passengers who do not carry check-in luggage and travel only with cabin baggage, ANI reported. The travellers will be required to declare their luggage details at the time of booking their tickets.
“As part of airline baggage policy, scheduled airlines will be allowed to offer free baggage allowance as well as zero baggage/no check in baggage fares,” the aviation regulator said in an order. “This will be subject to the condition that the passenger booking ticket under such fare scheme is made aware of the charges that shall be applicable if the passenger turns up with the baggage for check in at the airline counter.”
DGCA added: “These applicable charges shall be reasonable; prominently displayed to the passenger at the time of booking of ticket and also to be printed on the ticket.”
Under the existing rules, domestic flight passengers are allowed to carry 15 kilograms of check-in baggage. Extra charges become applicable when baggage weight exceeds this limit.
To make flight tickets more affordable, the DGCA has also allowed “unbundling” of services such as preferential seating, meals and drinks and access to the airport lounge. “On the basis of various feedback received, it is felt that many times these services provided by the airlines may not be required by the passengers while travelling,” DGCA said.
However, the new rule will become applicable when fare bands on domestic flights are removed , The Times of India reported.
Earlier this month, the Centre had increased the upper and lower limit on domestic air fares by 10% to 30%. However, it said that airlines will continue to operate at 80% of their pre-Covid levels till March 31 or till the summer schedule begins.
The order was issued a day after Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the Rajya Sabha that the fixed fare bands for domestic flights cannot be permanent. He added that a cap on airfares will not be required when flights begin operating at full capacity.
The government had earlier imposed a cap on domestic airfare after flights resumed on May 25, following a two-month suspension of services because of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Besides the increase in limits of airfares, the government had also grounded both domestic and international flights, as part of the countrywide lockdown. The Centre had allowed domestic flight services to resume on May 25, but at only one-third of its capacity. The cap was later increased to 45% and then to 60%. It was then gradually increased to 80%.