Patel 'not fully happy' with airlines' fare cuts

Saying he was ''not fully satisfied'' with airlines' efforts to reduce fares and make them more transparent, union aviation minister Praful Patel today said the government has formed a working group consisting of airlines and passenger associations to look into the issue of airfares.

After the first meeting of the newly formed civil aviation economic advisory council, Patel said that though the government did not want to regulate ticket-prices, unreasonable fares were not acceptable.

"The group will hold discussions over the next fortnight over the issue. Airlines have been advised that if time-bound measures are not taken, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) can take action. The government can't be a mute spectator to the price rise," Patel said.

He acknowledged that airlines had come around to the government's view and now displayed their maximum and minimum ticket prices online, but maintained that more needed to be done.

No specific recommendations were made in on Monday's meeting to the airlines regarding their fare format. Also, the short time allotted did not allow the airlines to contribute to the meeting. The minister suggested that instead of in the next quarter, he wanted the new committee to meet much sooner, some time in January.

Captain G R Gopinath, founder of Air Deccan and regarded as the pioneer of low-cost airlines in India, seconded Patel's views, saying that prices shouldn't be extortionist.