NEW DELHI: Domestic carriers today sought a week's time from the government to come up with their proposals to address the issue of "high fares", especially during the festival time after failing to reach a consensus on the issue.
More time was taken during a meeting here even as Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that the government was "determined' to cap fares.
At the meeting called by the Civil Aviation Ministry to discuss the issue of high fares, the airlines informed that they would conduct an internal exercise individually before coming out with their suggestions and proposals on the issue.
"We had a very lively discussion on pros and cons, floors and caps (on air fares) with them. And they informed us that they (each airline) will do an internal exercise. Probably, in a week or 10 days we will meet them again and take their suggestions," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters after the meeting.
He said that the issue of high air fares, particularly during the festive season, has been raised many times from various quarters including lawmakers, adding that the issue is giving a bad name and so it needs to be addressed.
The meeting came in the back drop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing "serious concern" over the steep hike in airfares, particularly during the festive season late last month.
Raju said that one of the suggestions that came up during the discussions today was the additional capacity deployment by the airlines during festive season.
"This could also help in bringing down fares," he said.
He, however, asserted that the government do not want to regulate fares.
There was also a kind of "agreement" on transferring of unutilised bilateral, under the rule from one eligible Indian airline to another, he said.
However, his deputy Sharma, while talking to reporters separately, said the Government would exercise all options to cap fares.
"We know it is a free economy, but we have suggested to them that it is giving a bad name," Sharma said, adding, "the government will exercise all options to ensure fares are capped and "is determined to do so".
He, however, said "initially we will try to do that by mode of consensus."