Airfares to be cheaper? Govt to ask airlines to pass on benefits of low fuel prices to passengers

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, however, said the government will not dictate on air ticket rates.

PTI| Updated: Jan 31, 2016, 19:35 PM IST
Airfares to be cheaper? Govt to ask airlines to pass on benefits of low fuel prices to passengers

Kochi: With airlines taking advantage of the falling prices of aviation fuel, Centre Sunday said it will request them to transfer its benefit as much as they can to passengers.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, however, said the government will not dictate on air ticket rates.

"Well, crude goes up, crude comes down. And airlines were going under lots of losses and accumulative losses were tremendous. Now they have a respite. Now, we will request them to transfer (the benefit) as much as they can to the travelling public," Raju said when asked whether the government will ask airline companies to reduce the airfare in view of falling aviation fuel prices.

"If you start dictating on ticket prices, then there is going to be another type of problem. We don't intend to do that," the minister said.

Aviation fuel prices have declined as international oil prices have slumped.

Raju, who visited the Cochin International Airport Limited to understand its solar powered electricity generation system, said the Aviation Ministry had conducted an analysis on ticketing and it was found that only 1.7 percent of air tickets were higher priced in a whole year in the country.

The Minister said he was not in favour of an existing rule called 5/20 under which a domestic carrier is allowed to fly abroad only after completing five years of domestic operations and having a minimum of 20 aircraft fleet.

"Definitely I am not in favour of anything that pulls down Indians," the Minister said when asked whether he was planning to do away with it.

"I don't think that anywhere else in the world, we have a rule like that. And nobody has been able to explain to me why is it(there)? Why is it advantageous? If you can explain, I would be grateful," he said.

He said the new civil aviation policy will be out "as soon as we can".

"It is already in an advanced stage. There are 2-3 small issues to be narrowed down. Once that happens, Government of India has its inter-ministerial consultancy. These things have to go back to Cabinet. So this will happen, this process will happen and the policy will be out," Raju said.