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Govt to put checks on airfare pricing

Govt to put checks on airfare pricing

On its policy of unbundling airfares, the Union government is planning to prescribe dos and don’ts to the airlines, which allows separate charges for preferred seats, extra baggage, meals-on-board and other such services. In its present shape, the policy has left both airlines and passengers dissatisfied. While airlines, which were hopeful of an additional revenue stream with unbundled fares, are complaining of government interference, passengers, on the other hand, think it is just a way of fleecing them.

To begin with, the government has now decided to tell all airlines to charge only a fixed percentage of the total seats in an aircraft, after passengers protested budget carrier IndiGo’s move of charging for all seats. The way airlines are behaving is the principle of an immature market. How can you charge for or separate, say, two children travelling together? We will ask airlines to fix a percentage of seats, 15-20 per cent, to be charged, a senior official from civil aviation ministry said.

As more issues surface in the implementation of unbundling of fares, the government will make more changes, the official added. On April 29, the government allowed airlines to charge separately for services like preferential seating, meals/snacks/drinks (except water), check-in baggage, carrying sports and musical instruments, declaration of valuable baggage and using airline lounges.

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