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December 13, 2010

Aviation Ministry, DGCA unhappy with airlines' steps to lower fares

     New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Monday said the Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are not satisfied with the steps taken by air carriers to lower down the astronomical fares and the airline companies should bring ticket costs down. Interacting with mediapersons after a meeting of the newly-formed Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council (CAEAC), Patel said: "Astronomical fares need to be controlled. We have already advised the airlines to do further more." He further said that the government "cannot be a mute spectator" to the airlines charging excessive fares. Patel said the present spot fares are not justified and that the airline companies should bring more transparency on spot fares. In order to ensure transparency in fixing airfares, the CAEAC decided to set up a small working group, comprising representatives of the air carriers and passengers' associations, keeping the DGCA directives in mind. The Civil Aviation Minister said the DGCA could take action under Rule 135 of Aircraft Rules, which deals with transparency in publishing of airfares. Following the directives of the DGCA and the ministry earlier, the airlines had brought down tariffs by 20-25 per cent. The regulator had asked the airlines to ensure transparency by keeping passengers informed about the fares available sector-wise and date-wise in layman's language. Patel said that to review the working group would meet in the next fortnight and the CAEAC would meet in January.
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