'Must ensure maximum prices are within limit': Govt on surge in airline tickets

Jun 07, 2023 04:41 PM IST

Scindia's statements come a day after he held an hour-long meeting with the Airlines Advisory Group and discussed concerns on airfares.

Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday spoke of the need to ensure airline ticket prices - which have surged (for various reasons) since domestic air travel resumed post-Covid lockdowns - remain 'within a certain limit'. "We must make sure maximum prices are within a certain limit... we have conveyed that message very clearly to airlines," he said.

Jyotiraditya Scindia(HT File Photo)
Jyotiraditya Scindia(HT File Photo)

"We cannot have prices way beyond what should rationally be done, specifically when we have certain instances take place, such as the Go First situation or other calamities or extenuating circumstances," the minister said, referring to Go First's insolvency proceedings.

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The statements come after Monday's meeting with the Airlines Advisory Group; airlines were told to self-monitor fares - particularly on routes also served by the now-grounded Go First.

READ | ‘Not great thing for civil aviation’: Jyotiraditya Scindia on Go First insolvency case

These routes are among several that have seen a significant surge in ticket prices.

Last month travel industry experts told Hindustan Times the propsect of increased travel during summer holidays could entice airlines to hike prices yet again - by as much 50 per cent in some cases. This is after hikes due to factors like the war in Ukraine making oil costlier.

Travel industry experts also cited Go First as a reason for increased fares, noting that the collapse of the carrier had shrunk the number of available tickets and upped prices.

Complaints about increased ticket prices have been numerous, particularly on social media, and Scindia was asked to respond at a media event in Delhi this week; it was brought to his attention that Delhi-Leh tickets were only 4,000 less than Delhi-Paris tickets.

The minister acknowledged the issue and said the government is conducting a 'full analysis' but also pointed out 'it is an issue created by an unforeseen demand-supply imbalance'.

"The airline pricing system runs in multiple levels (buckets) which are in line with practices followed globally. The prices are fixed by airlines keeping in mind the market, demand, seasonality and other market forces. Airfare increases with increase in demand for seats as the lower fare buckets get sold out faster..." he explained.

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