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December 5, 2010

Airlines agree to lower down airfares by 25 percent

     New Delhi: Domestic airlines backed down on the proposed hike in airfares on Sunday and agreed to lower down the airfares by 25 percent. With pressure amounting on them from the aviation ministry, domestic airlines have lowered the overall fares on several sectors. On Saturday, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel assured the nation that airfares would soon stabilise and rejected a proposal by domestic airlines for a massive hike in airfares. Patel said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was not just a technical regulatory body, but could also take necessary measures to control sudden price hikes. "Of course, the DGCA has many powers under Rule 135. It also has a much larger role than just being a technical regulator, and I do not see any reason why if airlines do not fall in line, the DGCA will not be a mute spectator. The DGCA will take necessary action, corrective action," said Patel. He further said that the DGCA would like airlines to be more transparent and definitive on the airfares being charged. "This is a sudden spur in demand due to, I would say high economic growth, and again, I would say that the revival of the entire world and domestic economy, and if more people travel, naturally there is demand and supply mismatch but we have said it, and I repeat that it does not mean that passengers should be taken for a ride. Passengers' interest must be protected, will be protected and there is no delay," said Patel. Almost all travelling operators on Thursday had proposed a massive hike in fares by taking into account the distance factor. The airlines have proposed fares and distances under these slabs: up to 750 km: low cost carrier (LCC) fares'' starting from Rs 2,200 and full service carrier (FSC) maximum of Rs 13,000; between 750-1,000 km: Rs 3,000(LCC)-Rs 20,000 (FSC); between 1,000-1,400 km: Rs 4,000 (LCC)-Rs 25,000 (FSC); and over 1,400 km: Rs 5,000 (LCC)-Rs 40,000 (FSC). As per the new airfare, a Delhi to Hyderabad flight will cost between Rs. 5,000 to 13,000, a flight to Trivendrum from Mumbai will cost between Rs. 4,500 to 14,000, a Delhi to Chennai flight will cost between Rs. 5,000 to 15,000, a flight to Bangalore from Mumbai will cost between Rs. 3,500 to 7,000 and a Delhi to Mumbai flight will cost between Rs. 5,000 to 10,000.
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