DGCA seeks monthly details from carriers on airfares

DGCA seeks monthly details from carriers on airfares

“We will ask for details of the number of seats sold on the highest and the lowest fare buckets.”

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to ask all domestic carriers to furnish details of the number of tickets they sell in the highest fare bucket, and the contribution of such tickets to their revenue from 20 domestic routes, in a bid to check sharp surges in airline fares.

Make data public

The DGCA plans to make the data public and would incorporate these numbers in its monthly traffic data reports, a senior official at the aviation regulator said on Friday. The move comes on the back of complaints from Parliamentarians on rising airfares. “We have received complaints on high airfares. The purpose of the move is to form a clear perspective on how many seats are being sold in the highest fare bucket,” the official said. Airlines offer different fare brackets for each flight, known as fare bucket.

The twenty routes for which airlines would have to share these details include Bangalore-Mumbai, Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Calcutta-Port Blair and Hyderabad-Mumbai.

“We will ask for details of the number of seats sold on the highest and the lowest fare buckets and the revenue earned on selling such seats,” the official added.

Experts criticise

Some aviation experts criticised the government for monitoring airfares and said it is a function of demand and supply.

“DGCA is involving itself in the pricing regime. It must get its priorities right — it is a safety compliance and standard organisation, not an economic regulatory bureau,” said Mark D Martin, founder and chief executive of Martin Consulting, an aviation consulting firm. DGCA had conducted an analysis of airfares in 2014 and found that the average fares were closer to the minimum fare, meaning most tickets sold were not priced exorbitantly. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said in Lok Sabha earlier this week that airlines have passed on the benefits of declining aviation turbine fuel to passengers, as per a study conducted by the government during January-March this year.

In the debate on demand for grants of the Civil Aviation Ministry, some Parliamentarians had sought action against airlines and had alleged airfares remained high despite decline in jet fuel prices which accounts for over 40 per cent of airline’s operational costs.

 –NEW DELHI, May 7, 2016