The airlines can now charge for preferential seating, meals, snacks, drinks (barring drinking water), check-in baggage, use of airline lounges, carriage of sports equipment and musical instruments and valuable baggage which have higher carrier liability.
The ministry said the list of services will be reviewed every six months. The charges for unbundled services will be fixed and announced in advance by the airlines. They won't vary in line with the base fare for a particular flight.
The attempts by domestic airlines to introduce charges on preferential seats and drinking water were put on hold in 2011 following orders from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Now, the entry of a new airlines seems to have made the ministry to re-look at the service charges. The new airlines relies heavily on charges for luggage, meals, inflight entertainment, preferred seats while keeping its base fare low.
"Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has decided to permit scheduled airlines to unbundle certain services and to charge fees for these services separately," an official release said.
The release said the Minister's decision was based on recommendations of an independent consultant. "This will allow the passengers to benefit from lower base fares and to customize the product to better suit their requirements and budget while allowing airlines to develop more sustainable operations in an environment of wafer-thin margins," it said. The DGCA will monitor the levy of such services.