Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that the fixed fare bands for domestic flights cannot be permanent.
He also added that a cap on air ticket prices will not be required when flights begin operating at full capacity.
Puri said that the ceiling on airfares was introduced to ensure that the passengers were not overcharged. This was done when domestic flight services resumed in India in May during the coronavirus crisis. The application of airfare bands was extended till February 24 this year.
“The floor and ceiling price was an extraordinary measure which was necessitated by am extraordinary situation which we found ourselves in. It is designed to ensure that airlines in a situation of limited availability did not charge exorbitant prices. It is not our intention and can not be in an open market deregulated situation to have the fare band made a permanent feature,” the minister said.
“The price band was confined to only economy class, not to business class…this also depends on when you are booking your tickets. If you are booking your business class tickets 60 days in advance, then the airlines might offer you a cheaper rate, but if you are booking just a day ahead, then the tickets are dearer. Airfare depends on the market. It is not something the Centre decides,” he said.
Talking about the overall loss of the aviation sector, the minister said, “Nobody has an overall figure on the losses, though IATA and some others put a fantastic figure on it. But the sector is reviving.”