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Market will decide prices: Airlines
Published on 8 Dec. 2010 11:16 PM IST
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If you planning to celebrate Christmas in Goa or usher in the New Year there, be ready to shell out anywhere up to `40,000 for a return ticket on those weekends. And if you a planning a romantic yuletide, multiply those fares by two and couples may find going abroad a cheaper option.
A day before making public the price range for each of their routes, airlines have made it clear that fares are going to be decided by the basic market force of demand and supply. So the up to `40,000 per person Delhi-Goa-Delhi return fares on Christmas and New Year weekend were for tickets being booked on Tuesday evening. They will keep rising as the travel date approaches and if seats remain available till then, spot fares could go near the Diwali highs. With the peak holiday season approaching, fares have already started going up after the knee-jerk reaction by airlines following the media pressure, which saw prices remaining subdued by 15-25% for a day or two.
For the maximum level in the price range going to be made public on Wednesday is unlikely to be very different from the ones submitted to the ministry on December 1. Whether airlines agree to their maximum fares being fixed by some government agency remains to be seen.
A senior government official, implementing the aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi and DGCA chief Bharat Bhushan—led crackdown on airlines, said the ministry did not wish to interfere in fare determination but wanted transparency in what people are being charged. There have been apprehensions that the industry may have manipulated fares to make them touch the peak levels, like the gravity-defying witnessed post-Diwali.
“That’s why we have asked for complete transparency by airlines to make public their entire fare range for each route. The DGCA will have to be given how many seats are assigned for each fare level so that we can check if fares have suddenly moved to highest level rightly after exhausting seats on all lower levels or through manipulation,.” the official said. While airlines are expectedly unhappy, to say the least at this crackdown, the government is hopeful that it will be able to curb malpractices in airline pricing mechanisms. The aviation ministry knows legally it can’t prescribe any highest ceiling for fares, but it can — and as — asked airlines to come clean on how much they are charging and why, depending on seats sold in each fare bucket.
“Full service airlines are less unhappy, compared to low cost carriers (LCCs). Once the fare buckets are made public on Wednesday, people can what is the actual difference in fares between these two. Very often we witness LCCs offering higher fares on certain sectors than the full service ones. And the complaint comes to us in the form of full service carriers charging less,” said the official.

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