NEW DELHI:A parliamentary panel on Tuesday recommended capping of airfares, observing that some airlines were charging more than 10 times the advance booking fare at the time of festivals and for bookings made closer to the date of travel.The standing committee on transport, tourism and culture also pulled up the civil aviation ministry for not “giving any serious thought” to regulating air fares and said that pricing mechanisms of developed nations might not be suitable for India.
The ministry, “though aware of the rampant exploitation, is not showing any proactive role in regulating air fares,” the panel said in a report tabled in Parliament. It noted that the ministry had not acted upon its earlier recommendations for effective steps to control fare surge.The panel said it believed the ministry had a social responsibility towards citizens. “The committee, therefore, recommends the Ministry of Civil Aviation to consider fixing an upper limit for air tickets for every sector,” it said.
The panel also flagged concerns over problems being faced by airlines due to the high cost of aviation turbine fuel (ATF). “... a major difficulty being faced by airlines is the high cost of ATF which is further aggravated by taxes, and that due to the distortion in the price structure caused by the taxation policies, the financial stability of airlines is getting strongly affected. In this regard, the committee urges that the ministry of finance may consider including ATF in GST,” the panel said.