Airfare up but DGCA sees no alarming trend
New Delhi: Airfares have shot up in the past fortnight mainly on account of crisis in Kingfisher Airlines but the aviation regulator DGCA today said the hike did not indicate any "alarming trend".
Following the reports, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) studied the recent pricing trends and "concluded that the air fare offered by various scheduled domestic airlines on different sectors remained within the fare bands available on their respective websites," an official spokesperson said.
The fare bands, from the lowest to the highest per sector, are proposed to the regulator by the airlines themselves.
"Random monitoring of airfares by DGCA has not revealed an alarming trend," the spokesperson said.
The airfares to and from Delhi had gone up in the last 15-20 days due to increased user development fee (UDF) and service tax. However, the fares for 14 days ahead of the journey were "still available in the lowest fare buckets," the spokesperson said.
The DGCA has asked all airlines to ensure that the air fares remained within the fare band, he said.
Ticket prices of several carriers have gone up due to cancellations by Kingfisher Airlines, which has been hit by pilots' strike.
The cheapest one-way fare on the Mumbai-Delhi route today was over Rs 8,000. Last year, the same ticket stood in the range of around Rs 5,000. To get a ticket on this sector for Rs 5,000, it has to be booked at least a month in advance.
DGCA data shows that in March last year, all airlines had together operated a total of 49,168 domestic flights, but this March, the number fell to 48,926. A reduction of 242 flights roughly translates into a decline of 24,000 seats, if one flight offers 100 seats on an average.
A reduction in the number of seats on offer would result in the ticket prices going up due to increased demand, industry sources said.