New Delhi: India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation, or DGCA, has written to domestic airlines seeking explanation on the recent fare hikes and promised action if it was found that they had operated as a cartel while deciding ticket prices, the latest of which took place on Tuesday. ”Necessary action will be taken if required on basis of their reports,” a spokeswoman for the civil aviation ministry said.
Aviation minister Praful Patel, who has repeatedly said in the past it is not his ministry’s mandate to look into pricing decisions at the airlines, on Wednesday said it was time to act against possible cartelization.“(The) ministry is against any cartelization amongst airlines. We will keep (a) watch and take strict action in any such case,” Patel said in a statement without specifying when or what action could be taken. Patel had asked airlines to reduce air fares after the fall in jet fuel prices late last year.
One analyst described the airline action of hiking fares in tandem, with effect from the weekend, as anti-consumer. “All of them hiking it together in the same price and proportion reflects that the airlines are operating in some understanding, which is not in consumer interest,” said Center for Asia Pacific Aviation’s India chief executive Kapil Kaul. India, he said, like the UK needs to have a consumer protection group to look into interest of passengers.
Airlines, in the past, have denied any kind of cartelisation.