Raising the issue of 'surge pricing' in airfare, a panel of Members of Parliament (MPs), head by TMC leader Derek O'Brien, has slammed the aviation ministry for not doing anything to regulate airfares, baggage fees, and cancellation charges. The Parliamentary panel on transport, tourism and culture, in its latest action taken report submitted in the Rajya Sabha, has asked the Ministry of Aviation to put a cap on surge pricing in airfares. The committee also comprises a total of 14 BJP MPs.
The report submitted by the panel has also raised the issue of "discourteous and rude airline staff", reported CNBC TV 18. The panel's recommendations come a day after the aviation ministry sided with the airlines on the issue, saying "that airlines are free to fix reasonable tariff and can fix a reasonable cancellation charge under the Aircraft Rules, 1937," reported the channel.
"The upper cap in airfare in all sectors is the need of the hour and the needs of the people should be given due consideration while regulating airfare and luggage charges," said the report. The panel said the airlines should not be allowed to charge more than 50 per cent of base fare as cancellation charges. Also, the airlines should be told to pass on the excise cut benefit on jet fuel on to passengers, said the report.
The committee has submitted similar reports in the past as well, but the aviation ministry has defended the move by the airlines.
In March, the panel had sought capping of airfares, expressing concerns over higher ticket prices around festivals. Calling it sheer "exploitation", the panel had said the aviation ministry was "not showing any pro-active role in regulating the airfares". According to the panel, some airlines even charge more than ten times of the advance booking fare around festivals and for bookings made closer to the date of travel.
Edited by Manoj Sharma