Describing the frequent special discount fare offers by domestic carriers as "non-existent", the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) on Sunday urged regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) not to permit such schemes.
"We strongly believe that the DGCA must put an end to this practice of offering ridiculously low fares which are non-existent and are not really available to the passenger," APAI president D Sidhakara Reddy said in a communication to the DGCA.
In the latest instance over the last few weeks, budget carrier SpiceJet on Tuesday launched its 'Diwali Dhamaka' sale, with one-way fares starting as low as Rs.899 (including taxes).
According to the company, tickets can be booked October 21-26, 2014 for travel between November 1 to December 15, 2014.
"SpiceJet has fundamentally changed the air travel paradigm in India this year, with offers that are frequent and often lower than train fares," chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor said announcing the scheme.
"We have received several complaints that the passengers do not get access to the airline's portal and if they are able to do so and look for the advertised (special) fare for a particular sector, it shows sold out, whereas most of the other types of fares are only available for bookings," Reddy said.
Pointing out that it has become routine by airlines to announce such schemes almost once every 10-15 days, their aim appears to achieve cheap publicity for the airline, APAI said.
The association asked the regulator whether the carriers inform about the percentage of seats they offer under the special fare as they are supposed to file their fares with the DGCA showing the quantum allocated under each type of fare offered under the bucket pricing method.
"If they are not, then what action do you propose for not following the procedure?" APAI asked in its letter.
Reddy also said the association would explore the Right to Information (RTI) route if the DGCA did not respond in the matter.