Global airlines' grouping IATA on Thursday said the government's decision to regulate airfares is a "step back" and carriers need to have the freedom to make their commercial decisions, including pricing of air tickets.

The comments came hours after the civil aviation ministry announced that airfares would be capped for three months till August 24 after domestic flight services resume on May 25.

Commercial domestic and international flights have been under suspension since March 25 when the nationwide lockdown was imposed to curb spreading of coronavirus infections.

"Airlines need to have the freedom to make their commercial decisions, including the pricing of airfares. Hence, we recognise and hope that this is a one-time measure as a result of COVID-19 and will be discontinued on August 24.

"India's Air Corporation Act was repealed in 1994, so the announcement to regulate airfares more than 2 decades later comes across as certainly a step back," IATA Assistant Director (Corporate Communications - Asia Pacific) Albert Tjoeng told PTI.

Airfares were deregulated after repealing the Act in 1994.

According to him, the government should instead make it a priority to support the country's airline industry through practical financial measures during this unprecedented crisis impacting the airline industry worldwide.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a grouping of nearly 290 airlines. Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and SpiceJet are also members of IATA.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal