DGCA probing airfare hike; asks carriers to display composite fare

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has written to all scheduled domestic airlines seeking information regarding the recent airfare increase by the airlines and transparency in airfare advertising.

The DGCA directive follows a simultaneous increases in air fares by scheduled domestic airlines in the second week of February 2009.

''The DGCA was not aware of the reasons for this simultaneous hike, specifically at a the time when the ATF prices, effective 1 February 2009, are at the level that they were in 2005. As such, the DGCA felt that there appeared to be no rationale for increasing the airfares,'' the regulator said in a release.

DGCA has asked all airlines to furnish detailed information regarding the airfare hikes along with detailed justification, latest by 14 February 2009.

In a separate communication to all scheduled domestic airlines, the DGCA has observed that airfares displayed on the respective websites of scheduled domestic airlines comprise several components like basic fare and fuel surcharge, congestion charge and passenger service fee (PSF) all loosely labeled as taxes. This aspect gives an impression to the traveling public that high airfares are due to government taxes.

In order to have transparency in airfare advertising, the DGCA has directed that airlines may display the fare as one composite fare, correctly indicating the charges accruing to the airlines.

This information also is to be given to the DGCA latest by 14 February 2009.