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41% surge in airfares likely to slow down long-term aviation recovery

According to the Airports Council International (ACI Asia-Pacific), India has recorded the highest surge in airfares among other countries in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. The rise in airfares in India, which stands at 41 per cent, has raised concerns about the long-term recovery of the civil aviation industry. Other countries experiencing significant fare hikes include the United Arab Emirates (34 per cent), Singapore (30 per cent), and Australia (23 per cent). The Central government has claimed that the rise in airfares is limited to select routes.

Last month, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia emphasised the importance of maintaining reasonable airline ticket prices following the resumption of domestic air travel after the Covid-19 lockdowns. Earlier, in a meeting with the Airlines Advisory Group, the Minister expressed the need for maximum prices to be within an acceptable range and conveyed this message clearly to the airlines. Scindia had said that it is crucial to avoid exorbitant prices, especially considering recent incidents such as the Go First situation, as well as other unforeseen events or emergencies. He emphasised that the government cannot permit prices to escalate beyond what is justifiable while saying that they are monitoring the fares on a daily basis. To regulate fares, the airlines were urged to self-monitor prices, particularly on routes previously served by the grounded Go First airline.

“The objective is to ensure that air travel remains affordable and accessible for passengers, while also taking into account the various challenges faced by the aviation industry,” Scinida had said while addressing a press conference here in Delhi. Since the repeal of the Air Corporations Act in 1994, airfares in India have not been regulated by the government. Airlines have been granted the freedom to charge reasonable fares based on their operational viability, subject to compliance with Rule 137 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937.

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