Free Press Journal

Jat stir: Domestic carriers continue to charge high fares


New Delhi: Domestic airlines continued to charge exorbitant fares in the wake of the Jat stir with some carriers spiking ticket prices to as high as Rs 23,000 for a Amristsar-Mumbai flight, a hike of over 300 per cent, even as Government washed its hands off, saying it can only “request” them to keep the rates under check.

This is despite the Government saying yesterday that it has asked the airlines to mount additional capacity on routes such as Jaipur, Amritsar and Chandigarh with a view to cater to the increased demand due to road blockades and disruption in rail services.

According to travel portals, while the fares for a SpiceJet flight to Amritsar from Mumbai for tomorrow stood at whopping 23,610, IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet’s fares for a Delhi-Amritsar flight have been quoted as Rs 18,562. Similarly, full service carrier Jet Airways has hiked its fares to Rs 16,815 for a Delhi-Chandigarh flight on Tuesday.

At the same time, national carrier Air India’s was charging Rs 11,678 for a Jaipur-Mumbai journey, while budget carrier had upped teh fares to Rs 17,418 for the same route, according to the portal.

The 30-day advance booking fares for these destinations on an average range between Rs 3,000-6,400 for a single journey. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma had earlier in the day said that globally air fares are “unregulated and government can only request airlines to keep their ticket prices low” during an extraordinary situation such as the ongoing Jat quota stir in Haryana.

The Minister of State for Civil Aviation also said the government has immediately stepped in and instructed airlines to mount additional capacity as a measure to keep air fares under control in view of the agitation.

“It was brought to my notice that tickets are being sold at high prices. The ministry immediately contacted all airlines including national carrier Air India and requested them to increase the number of flights (to keep the fares under control,” Sharma said in response to a question that some airlines were “overcharging” and that some travel portals were exhibiting fares as high as Rs 89,000 for a business class seat on Delhi-Chandigarh sector.

Domestic carriers including Air India and private airlines SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Go and IndiGo have operated additional flights to Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jaipur following the instructions from the Ministry.

Sharma, however said “Since globally air fares are not regulated, we can only request and suggest (domestic) airlines to keep fares low in a situation like this (agitation).”