Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), a lobby group representing domestic airlines, has declined a government request for detailed pricing information by route , citing commercial sensitivity and possible information leaks.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked airlines to submit revenue by route, by month, and per seat kilometre (a measure popular in the airline business) for 90 routes to enable a revision in the service price index base year.
FIA, whose members include the InterGlobe Aviation Ltd-run IndiGo, Jet Airways Ltd, SpiceJet Ltd and GoAir, has said it cannot submit this information.
In a 6 April letter to director general of civil aviation B.S. Bhullar, FIA said that data is compiled by an outside agency contracted by the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP).
“Three out of the four member airlines are listed companies and are very concerned about the confidentiality of commercially sensitive data, as any leakage of this commercially sensitive data, even inadvertently, caused either due to technological or human error, would result in a serious loss to the concerned airlines, both on the competitive as well as financial front by adversely impacting the stock of that airline,” FIA said.
Mint has reviewed a copy of the letter.
IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet are listed on stock exchanges while GoAir is privately held by the Wadia Group that also owns biscuit maker Britannia Industries.
“Our member airlines are therefore unable to consider providing route-wise data any longer and request the DGCA to kindly excuse them from the requirement to provide commercially sensitive data,” the letter said. The airlines said they are, however, willing to share operational data and macro level financial data, according to the same letter.
Last month, a Parliamentary panel asked the government to come up with a separate price index for the services sector to reflect actual costs. Services account for 60% of the country’s economy but are not captured fully by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) or the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Sectors such as entertainment and transportation are largely the domain of private firms, and costs may be rising “disproportionately higher” than what is being captured in the CPI, which measures retail inflation, the panel said, as per news agency PTI.
Air India, by virtue of being state-owned, has no option but to release such data when it is sought by the Parliamentary members.