DGCA to look into tariff structure of Indian carriers

DGCA to look into tariff structure of Indian carriers New Delhi: DGCA would look into the tariff structure of Indian airlines in view of the wide range of the base prices of air tickets, after the Supreme Court observed that the price bands were too wide and directed it to examine the matter.

Efforts would be made to compress these price bands, which range from 12 to as high as 22 set by different airlines on each sector, and make air fares more transparent so that the travelling public are clear about the cost of travel, official sources said here.

While there was a need to make the price bands more transparent, there should also be some rationale behind the huge differences between the highest and the lowest air fares in these price bands, they said.

Justifying the higher price bands, airline industry sources said that they have to take into account, apart from the actual costs of air travel, the variable costs on inputs like jet fuel, whose prices continue to rise, and staff costs.

While the Airlines Passengers Association of India (APAI) has welcomed the apex court's directions, some aviation experts have also objected to the inclusion of congestion charges or extra charges of Rs 50 for giving a printout of the ticket.

"When most airlines are showing high on-time performance, then why should they charge congestion charges," asked Debashish Saha of the Aeronautical Society of India.

Giving an example, he said there used to be severe congestion earlier at the IGI Airport with planes hovering for 30 minutes before being cleared to land.

"Now it has three operational runways and there are generally no delays, barring the foggy days. Then what is the justification for the congestion charge," he asked.

Regarding the price for a ticket printout, Saha said under the Carriage by Air Act, it is the contractual obligation of an airline to provide a ticket to the passenger. "Why should an extra fee be levied?"

PTI