As airlines gear up to take the skies following Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s announcement of starting domestic flights from May 25, the government has released certain rules on dos and don’ts for passengers. The aviation ministry has put a cap on airfares and said that airline should adhere to lower-upper limits of fares prescribed.
Airlines were expected to increase airfares once operations begin, given the limited number of seating to adhere to social distancing norms. However, the ministry has now said that airfares will have to be capped to a certain level. Jitendra Bhargava, former ED of Air India shares his views and outlook.
“One needs to welcome the resumption of flight which is much needed, people who were stranded will be able to travel. The SOPs have been issued in consultation with the airlines, which we welcome,” he said.
“In the normal scenario, I would say capping of fares is a bad idea but looking at the grimness of the situation – two months of non-operations, losses have been mounted – there is a fear of airlines overcharging. That will be detrimental to passengers and to airlines itself because of the huge demand destruction, which is a natural corollary of the coronavirus,” he added.
According to him, if air fares are increased, the number of passengers will go down risking the profitability of the sector.