India warns airlines over fare hike

Monday, 6 December 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

India’s Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has warned domestic airlines that they could face a crackdown over skyrocketing fares.

The warning came after the airlines sharply raised fares during the recent religious holiday season which traditionally witnesses a surge in air travel.

There was “no justifiable reason” for the increases, Patel said, adding that airlines cannot “charge fares at will” just because of higher demand.

Noting that India’s airline regulator, the Director-General of Civil Aviation, had powers to curb “predatory or excessive pricing,” Patel said action could be taken within 10 days unless fares came down.

India’s airline industry is currently recovering after being hit by the global financial downturn and a rise in fuel prices.

Between January and October, the number of passengers rose 18 per cent from the same period a year earlier to 42 million – exceeding pre-financial crisis levels.

The airlines have put forward new price bands for flights for consideration but the government “is certainly not satisfied” with the proposals, said Patel.