Domestic airlines have decided to slash fares in the highest bracket by between five and 20 per cent, after being hauled up by the director-general of civil aviation (DGCA), the industry regulator.
Bharat Bhushan, the DGCA, summoned the CEOs of scheduled domestic carriers and expressed concern over various issues affecting the travelling public. The airline bosses were told that the increase in average fares was phenomenal, although the aviation turbine fuel prices have gone up by just 16 per cent over the past 12 months.
He also referred to the huge variations in the highest published airfare by different carriers on the same sector. The carriers were directed to take a relook on the route-wise airfares offered in the highest fare bucket and to ensure that the maximum airfares are reasonable.
Bhushan also told them to examine the trend of rising airfares and also curb the exponential increase in fares by some airlines on various routes. The CEOs assured the DGCA that they would examine these airfares and would reduce them by between five and 20 per cent on various routes.
The DGCA also pointed out that airfares do not show an increasing trend as the date of departure nears. Fares of higher inventory are often opened and then lowered as the date of departure approaches. Thus, passengers buying tickets in advance may end up paying more than those who buy tickets later, the airline CEOs were told.
The airlines were told that whereas passenger traffic has seen a downward swing in May 2012 over the corresponding period of last month, the airfares have seen a disproportionate spurt.