Praful Patel warns airlines against cartelisation

Minister for civil aviation Praful Patel today came out strongly against reports of cartelised move by domestic airlines to withdraw all fare concessions and instead announce steep hikes in base air fares.

''The ministry is against any cartelisation amongst airlines. We will keep watch and take strict action in any such case,'' the minister said.

''The national carrier Air India will never be a part of it and will ensure that competitive pricing ensures better prices to the passengers. Air India shall act as a counter with better pricing and competitive fares,'' Patel added.

The warning comes a day after all major airlines announced  fare hikes. The fare hikes were unexpected since fuel prices have come down drastically since last year.

Airlines, including full service and low-cost operators, on Tuesday announced the withdrawal of all promotional schemes and instead raised basic fares between Rs1,200 and Rs2,200 on several sectors from Wednesday.

Airlines, including Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher, have steeply raised basic fares across sectors by Rs1,200-2,200 per passenger.

Low-cost airlines like Indigo, GoAir, and SpiceJet have increased basic fares by an average of Rs2,000 per passenger across major routes.

Airlines said the decision was taken because of the low load factor despite the promotional schemes.