Time to slash air fares: Praful Patel to Aviation Industry

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Parful Patel asks aviation to cut prices
New Delhi, Dec 16: Specifying that the Government had done enough for the aviation industry, in times of trouble, the Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday, Dec 16 put pressure on private carriers to cut fares. "It is imperative that air fares be cut as the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices have been slashed," Praful Patel said.

State-run oil companies on Monday, Dec 15 cut jet fuel or ATF prices by over 11 per cent.
ATF in Delhi has been cut by Rs 4,208.37 to Rs 32,691.28 per kilolitre. This was the seventh straight cut in jet fuel prices since price soared to an all time high of Rs 71,028.26 per kl (in Delhi) in Aug. With international oil prices cooling since, the fuel prices have been slashed in subsequent months.

Aviation secretary M Madhavan Nambiar on Monday, Dec 15 met airline heads and asked them to take steps to cope up with the falling demand and get people back into planes. The message was clear - go back to competitive fares.

Private players like Kingfisher have, in the past, linked cutting fares to demands for ATF to be termed a declared good so that a flat 4 per cent sales tax is levied on it across the country. But on Monday, Dec 15 airlines were clearly told that enough relief had come in the form of hugely cheaper ATF, with prices dipping to a three-year low.

Full service airlines - AI, Jet and Kingfisher - said they were as yet evaluating the impact of the latest ATF price cut. "We've just cut fuel surcharge by Rs 400. We'll take a call now on what to do next," said a Jet spokesperson.

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