Passengers willing to fly in domestic flights will have to shell out more money now for air travel as the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday increased the lower and upper limits on domestic airfares by 10 to 30 per cent. Issuing a statement, the Ministry said that the new limits will remain in force up to March 31, 2021 or until further orders. .
The Civil Aviation Ministry had while announcing the resumption of scheduled domestic flights on May 21 last year placed limits on airfares through seven bands classified on the basis of flight duration.
According to the announcement, the first such band consists of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration. The lower limit for the first band was increased on Thursday from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,200. On the other hand, the upper limit in this band was set at Rs 7,800, which was Rs 6,000 earlier.
The subsequent bands are for flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes.
The fresh lower and upper limits set by the ministry for these bands on Thursday were: Rs 2,800 – Rs 9,800; Rs 3,300 Rs 11,700; Rs 3,900 Rs 13,000; Rs 5,000 Rs 16,900; Rs 6,100 Rs 20,400; Rs 7,200 Rs 24,200, respectively.
Till date, the lower and upper limits for these bands were: Rs 2,500 – Rs 7,500; Rs 3,000 – Rs 9,000; Rs 3,500 – Rs 10,000; Rs 4,500 – Rs 13,000; Rs 5,500 – Rs 15,700 and Rs 6,500 – Rs 18,600, respectively.
Notably, the aviation regulator DGCA had said on May 21 last year that each airline would sell at least 40 per cent of its tickets on a flight at prices less than the midpoint between the lower limit and upper limit.
Domestic passenger services resumed on May 25 after nearly two months of suspension to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Along with the limits on airfares, the government had asked the airlines to operate not more than 33 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. On June 26, the cap was increased to 45 per cent. This was gradually increased to 80 per cent. The ministry said on Thursday that the 80 per cent limit would remain in place till March-end.
The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
All Indian carriers last year took cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, leave without pay and firing of employees in order to conserve cash.