Airlines are free to fix reasonable tariff, says Centre

New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry has said that Airlines are free to fix the reasonable tariff under the provision of Aircraft Rules, 1937.

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on December 2, 2021, the Minister of State in the Ministry Of Civil Aviation (Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) said that Airfares are not regulated by the Government and the airlines are free to fix the reasonable tariff under the provision of Aircraft Rules, 1937 having regard to all relevant factors including the cost of operations, characteristic of service, reasonable profit, and the generally prevailing tariff.

Further, with a view to maintain transparency, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) monitors airfares on certain routes selected on a random basis to ensure that the airlines do not charge airfares outside the range declared by Airlines on their websites, the Minister informed.

He added that due to the outbreak of COVID 19, scheduled domestic operations were suspended w.e.f. 25.03.2020 which were subsequently resumed in a calibrated manner w.e.f. 25.05.2020 with fare capping (lower and upper limit on the different sectors) to ensure that airlines do not charge excessive fare.

“The fare band serves the dual purpose of protecting the interests of the travelers as well as the airlines. As per the Order dated 18.09.2021 issued by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), the minimum and maximum airfares chargeable is rolled over for the next 15 days cycle.”

The Minister further informed that the MoCA has launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)- UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme on 21.10.2016 for providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country and by making air travel affordable to the masses. Interested airlines based on their assessment of demand on particular routes submit their proposals at the time of bidding.

For sustainability of operations, Selected Airline operators are granted exclusivity for operating air transport services/flights for a period of three years from the commencement of operations on an RCS Route under the Scheme.

UDAN is a demand-driven scheme where bidding rounds are conducted periodically for covering more destinations/stations and routes under the scheme, the Minister informed.

“Till date, four rounds of UDAN have been conducted and 948 routes have been awarded involving over 100 airports. Out of these awarded routes, 395 UDAN routes have already been operationalized connecting 63 UDAN airports including 2 water aerodromes & 6 heliports,” he said.

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