Clarify fares further, govt tells airlines

Unhappy with the obscure format that the airlines have used for publishing airfares on their websites, the government has issued a three-point directive to airlines about the flaws in their tariff charts, telling them to make these user-friendly.

The aviation industry has obeyed the letter of the recent aviation ministry directive that airlines must put up monthly fare charts to curb arbitrary pricing; but these charts are perceived to be confusion worse confounded. The charts, as they stand, can only be deciphered by travel industry persons and not the average traveller.

 Airlines have now been asked to issue all-inclusive and reasonable fares in a consumer-friendly manner, something that only Air India (domestic) has done.

"All the airlines have been asked to submit their response to us. Based on these, we will see what has to be done further," said a senior DGCA official. He did not say by when the responses have to be submitted, but informed the media that a meeting of the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) and airlines on the issue is scheduled for next week.

After airfares rocketed to Rs20,000-levels in November, the DGCA asked airlines to publish their range of fares in newspapers or websites. The airlines published fares on their websites on Tuesday, but the information is very difficult to understand.

Subsequently, the civil aviation ministry issued an official statement on Wednesday saying, "The tariff data is being examined for any discrepancy. Observations on the same will be communicated to the airlines to make it more passenger-friendly so that travelling public have informed choice for travel."