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Updated: November 25, 2010 15:53 IST

Praful asks airlines to notify price band for fares

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Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel has warned airlines against
The Hindu
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel has warned airlines against "predatory pricing". File photo

Taking a serious note of “predatory pricing” by airlines, the Government on Thursday said the air fares on every sector/route should have a lower and higher price band, which must be pre-notified on the Websites of the respective airlines.

“Fares on lower and higher price band on every sector will have to be notified. It has to be in the public domain on each airline’s Website on what would be the fares on higher price band,” Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters here on the sidelines of Ficci’s aviation conference.

He further said that the government and the Director General of Civil Aviation had taken serious note of “exorbitant prices” charged by the airlines on most of the routes and issued notices to them.

Commenting on reports that spot bookings for certain routes including Delhi-Mumbai have soared to as high as 300 per cent post Deepawali, the Minister said, “This kind of predatory pricing cannot be justified, it is unfair to the passengers.”

Last week, DGCA, the aviation regulator had issued a circular, asking the airlines to “furnish a copy of the route-wise tariff across its network in various fare categories, in the manner it is offered in the market, to DGCA on the first day of every calendar month.”

According to the circular, any “significant and noticeable change” in the established tariff already filed (by an airline), should be reported to the DGCA “within 24 hours of effecting such changes”.

The regulator had also asked airlines to publish air fares on their websites or in daily newspapers on a regular basis.

According to news reports, the DGCA is also investigating whether sudden spurt in prices is because of manipulation by the travel industry.

Allegations are that the low fare seats are reserved in advance by the travel industry, so that only the high-fare basket seats are available to general passengers and once these seats are sold out, the fictitiously booked ones are released for sale at the higher price.

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