New Delhi, Dec 3: There is no proposal before the government to regulate economy class air fares for domestic routes and carriers are free to fix ticket prices, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma on Thursday, Dec 3 said.
His remarks came against the backdrop of concerns expressed in various quarters about steep fluctuations in air ticket prices.
Earlier this week, a parliamentary panel also suggested capping maximum air fares on domestic routes. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation said air fares are not controlled by the government.
To a query on whether the government proposes to regulate the economy class air fare for domestic routes, Sharma replied in the negative.
According to him, airlines are free to fix the ticket rates after taking into consideration various factors, including cost of operation and characteristics of service.
A Tariff Monitoring Unit has been set up at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to monitor air fares on certain routes on a random basis.
This is to ensure airlines do not charge fares outside the range declared by them. "The analysis on a random basis has shown that the air fares remained well within the fare bucket uploaded by the airlines on respective websites," Sharma said.
In a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture had suggested a cap on maximum air fares.
The report pertained to action taken by the government on observations/recommendations of the panel on the Ministry's Demands for Grants (2015-16). Earlier, some parliamentarians had asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to look into the issues of steep hikes in air fares during festival seasons.