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Business News/ Industry / Govt asks airlines to self-monitor airfares on select routes

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry has asked airlines to self-monitor airfares after the temporary suspension of flights by Go First led to surge pricing on routes where the airline had a strong presence.

"Airlines must self-monitor airfares on certain select routes that have seen considerable surge pricing of late, particularly those that were earlier being serviced by Go First," a senior official said.

The airlines have been advised to ensure reasonable pricing within the high reservation booking designators or fare codes. Fare codes are used in reservation transactions to specify the class of service a passenger should be booked in to receive the fare, and functions also as an inventory control code.

“This shall be monitored by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation," the official said.

In an hour-long meeting with airlines' advisory group, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia discussed the issue of airfares, which have been soaring since the first week of May 2023 when the Wadia Group-backed airline voluntarily filed for insolvency. The airline suspended operations with effect from 3 May and is yet to resume flights.

Data from the travel website Ixigo showed last-minute airfares for flights on routes with a strong presence of Go First, such as Delhi-Pune have risen to approximately 16,000 from a little over 6,000 in the last week of April. Spot airfares for flights to Ahmedabad from Delhi have also become dearer to around 16,000 from over 3,000 in the last week of April.

Spot fares on the Delhi-Leh route currently cost around 9,000 from 6,000 in the last week of April. Similarly, Delhi-Srinagar flights cost about 12,000 now from nearly 9,000 in the last week of April.

With a 6.9% share in India’s domestic aviation market as of March, Go First carried almost 900,000 passengers during the month, or about 30,000 passengers per day.

The civil aviation ministry also reiterated that during any calamity, airlines need to keep a tight check on the pricing of air tickets in view of the humanitarian situation and monitor and control any surge in ticket prices to and from that region.

The directive comes after a horrific triple train accident involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express, and a goods train at Balasore in Odisha left 275 dead and around 900 injured.

“In case of the unfortunate Odisha tragedy, airlines have been advised to provide free carriage (cargo) services to the families of the deceased," the official added.

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Updated: 05 Jun 2023, 06:12 PM IST
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