Hardeep Singh Puri says fare caps benefited both passengers and airlines

The upper and the lower limit of prices for domestic flights were set in May after the flight operations had remained shut for almost two months owing to Covid-19

Hardeep Singh Puri says fare caps benefited both passengers and airlines
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri during an interaction with the media. Image courtesy: Twitter/@HardeepSPuri

New Delhi: Both passengers and airlines benefited from price caps set by the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA), Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday (December 29). The ministry has imposed a cap on domestic airfare till February 24, 2021.

The upper and the lower limit of prices for domestic flights were set in the last week of May after the flight operations had remained shut for almost two months owing to Covid-19. 

Expressing his satisfaction and content about the fare cap, Puri said, “Fare caps have benefited both the passengers and the airlines.”

Explaining the need for fare caps, the minister added, “When air travel was opened in India, a cap was sent on the fare. There was a floor and ceiling price. This was designed to meet a particular situation which has arisen. Then there was a complete disruption of civil aviation traffic. And if you had not had the cap you would have had some people utilising the resources to produce irrational fares.”  

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Sharing the statistics of how the aviation sector is moving towards pre-Covid numbers, Puri said the civil aviation ministry has opened up operations in a calibrated manner. “On May 25, when we opened up, we had 30,000 passengers and now on December 28, there are 2,56,000 passengers daily. I am hoping, with holidays and a steady increase in traffic, we will reach 3,00,000 which is near pre-covid numbers.” 

Without revealing any timeline related to when passenger restrictions will be removed, Puri said, “We constantly review the process. If the constant growth remains steady we will open it (aviation sector) further.”

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Airlines in India are currently allowed to sell seats up to 80% of their pre-covid capacity on domestic flights. This figure stood at 33% when flight operations began after the lockdown.

Domestic flights in India have a cap on fares with both an upper and lower limit. Flights between cities that take under 40 minutes have been classified under section one, while those taking under 40-60 minutes are under section two. Section three consists of destinations that are 60-90 minutes apart by flight, while section four comprises cities 90-120 minutes apart. Section five consists of cities 120-150 minutes apart. Destinations between 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes apart have been classified under sections 6 and 7 respectively.