(Representative Image: Reuters)
The lower and upper limits on airfares will remain for 15 days at any given time and the airlines will be free to charge without any limits from the 16th day onwards, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on September 18.
Since August 12 this year, this roll-over period was of 30 days and the airlines have been charging without limits from the 31st day onwards.
In a fresh order issued on Saturday, the Civil Aviation Ministry explained the change in the rule: “If the current date is September 20, then the fare band shall be applicable till October 4. Any booking done on September 20 for travel on or after October 5 shall not be controlled by fare bands.”
“On the following day, that is, if the current date is September 21, then the fare band shall be in force till October 5 and for travel on or after October 6, the fare bands shall not be applicable,” the order mentioned. So, the fare bands will shift by a day every day, it added.
India had imposed lower and upper limits on airfares based on flight duration when services were resumed on May 25, 2020, after a two-month COVID-19 pandemic-triggered lockdown. The lower caps were imposed to help the airlines that have been struggling financially due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. The upper caps were imposed so that passengers are not charged huge amounts when the demand for seats is high.
Domestic air travel became costlier on August 12 this year as the Civil Aviation Ministry raised the lower as well as upper caps on fares by 9.83 to 12.82 percent.
For example, the ministry on August 12 increased the lower limit for flights under 40 minutes of duration from Rs 2,600 to Rs 2,900 — an increase of 11.53 percent. The upper cap for flights under 40 minutes of duration was increased by 12.82 percent to Rs 8,800.
The caps mentioned by the government in its order do not include the passenger security fee, user development fee for the airports, and the GST. These charges are added on top when the ticket is being booked by the passenger.
The August 12 order also mentioned that the limits on airfares will remain in place for 30 days at any given time. On Saturday, the ministry modified the August 12 order, replacing the word “30 days” with “15 days”.