NEW DELHI: The Civil Aviation Ministry is working on options to address the issue of airlines charging high fares, especially during festive seasons, in the wake of serious concerns expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue but ruled out regulating ticket prices.
Among the solution to the problem the government is said to be working on is encouraging the use of unutilised bilateral rights with other countries that could lead to higher availability of seats and reduction in fares.
Highly-placed sources said another option could be to induce competition by slashing of fares. A lead in this regard could perhaps be taken by the state carrier, they said.
However, the sources ruled out official regulation of airfares since it would against the grain of competition and free market principles.
The Prime Minister had recently expressed concern over steep rise in airfares, especially during festive seasons when more people travel and had asked "whether there is a way to handle it (the issue)".
Modi had received a representation that airfares are high during the Onam festival that is celebrated in Kerala. At that time, many Keralites - working in the Middle East come home with their families - have to shell out high prices of air tickets, the sources said.
"High airfares (during festivals) is a cause for concern. We will try to address the problem... both in international and domestic routes," the sources said.
Last week, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma had said the issue of predatory pricing was a concern of a majority of Parliamentarians and as well as the Prime minister.
Concerns have been expressed in various quarters, including by Parliamentarians, over fluctuations in air fares.