Doha: Taking a dim view of the price war being waged by airlines on the Qatar-India sector, the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has directed all airlines operating flights to the Indian sub-continent to restore normal off-season fares. According to travel industry sources, normal off-season fares will now come into effect from 1 October, as per this directive from the CAA.
According to these sources, the CAA stepped in to control the price war among companies operating in this sector, as fares to some Indian destinations, particularly Calicut and Cochin, had dropped by more than 50 per cent. As a norm, fares to these two southern destinations in India always remained the highest in the region.
According to reports emerging from Qatar, the new directive is expected to immediately impact the India sector, where undercutting has been going on in full scale. Travel agents said other sectors in the sub-continent, though, were expected to remain unaffected.
The CAA directive is likely to impact the large number of Indians workings in Qatar, particularly those hailing from the southern Indian state of Kerala. Some airline were offering fares as low as QR1,500 for a return ticket from Doha to Calicut or Cochin.
According to industry sources, this situation had come to pass particularly with the entry of several new airlines to the sector. They also said that the situation was fast becoming unviable as the number of passengers had gone up by just 20 per cent even though capacity had increased about 300 per cent.
A number of low-cost carriers have also begun operations in this sector, considered as one of the most lucrative for airlines.