The Ministry of Civil Aviation has increased the lower and upper limits on domestic airfares by 10 to 30 per cent—a move that would make domestic air travel costlier for passengers. The ministry in a statement said that the new limits will remain in force up to March 31, 2021, or until further orders.
The civil aviation ministry had placed limits on airfares through seven bands classified on the basis of flight duration. The limits were imposed while announcing the resumption of scheduled domestic flights on May 21, 2020.
Notably, airlines incurred massive losses in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic as air travel came to a grinding halt. Many airlines went under debt amid travel restrictions and a poor demand for air travel.
Revised fare limits for domestic air travel
The first such band consists of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration. The lower limit for the first band was increased on Thursday from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,200. The upper limit in this band was set at Rs 7,800, which was Rs 6,000 earlier.
The subsequent bands are for flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes.
The fresh lower and upper limits set by the ministry for these bands on Thursday were: Rs 2,800 – Rs 9,800; Rs 3,300 – Rs 11,700; Rs 3,900 – Rs 13,000; Rs 5,000 – Rs 16,900; Rs 6,100 – Rs 20,400; Rs 7,200 – Rs 24,200, respectively.
Till date, the lower and upper limits for these bands were: Rs 2,500 – Rs 7,500; Rs 3,000 – Rs 9,000; Rs 3,500 – Rs 10,000; Rs 4,500 – Rs 13,000; Rs 5,500 – Rs 15,700 and Rs 6,500 – Rs 18,600, respectively.
40% tickets at less than midpoint price
Aviation regulator DGCA had said on May 21 last year that each airline would sell at least 40 per cent of its tickets on a flight at prices less than the midpoint between the lower limit and upper limit.
Domestic flight services resumed in India on May 25 last year after nearly two months of suspension to combat the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Along with the limits on airfares, the government had asked the airlines to operate not more than 33 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. On June 26, the cap was increased to 45 per cent. This was gradually increased to 80 per cent. The ministry said on Thursday that the 80 per cent limit would remain in place till March-end.
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