Fixing of fuel surcharge by domestic airlines could be probed, says Competition Commission official

Mumbai: A senior official of the Competition Commission of India has said that domestic airlines could potentially be hauled up for fixing the fuel surcharge on airline tickets in league with each other.  He felt that it was unlikely that all carriers arrived at the same fee while operating in different business circumstances.

''The same fuel surcharge arouses suspicion of fixing prices. It is very unlikely that airlines arrived at the same amount though all have different costs,'' said Augustine Peter, economic adviser at the Competition Commission of India.

These comments from the country's antitrust overseer have drawn a standard response from the country's domestic airlines which say that they are merely passing on the uniform price increase in jet fuel to their customers.

Antitrust officials have clarified, however, that they have not received any complaint from industry stakeholders on the fuel surcharge issue so far, though the matter could be a potential issue for a serious investigation.

Domestic airlines are currently charging Rs2,350 per ticket on long-haul routes and Rs1,950 per ticket for short flights as fuel surcharge, which is paid in addition to basic fare, taxes and other charges.