New Delhi: India's aviation sector regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Friday took exception to airlines hiking fares on certain high-density routes by up to 20%, and asked them to ensure that prices remained in their respective bands, media reports said.
"It has been brought to the notice of the DGCA through search of websites of airlines and media reports as well as feedback from air travelers that fares on certain high demand sectors have registered a sudden spurt, which is almost 15% to 20% higher on various metro routes compared to a month ago," the DGCA said in its order.
The regulator said the airlines should maintain fares within the band uploaded on their websites and any violation to this will be dealt with under Rule 135 of Aircraft Rules 1937.
"...all the scheduled domestic airlines are directed to ensure that fares offered on various sectors remain within the fare band uploaded on the website of respective airlines," the DGCA order said.
The cost of operation, it said, of scheduled airlines on account of various constituent elements has not undergone any significant changes in the past two months.
It aviation watchdog asked the airlines to ensure that "no upward revision in tariff is effected due to industrial unrest in Air India" and also rise in demand during the period.
Over 150 pilots of national carrier Air India called in sick Tuesday, protesting the training being imparted to erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots to fly Dreamliner and demanding exclusive rights to operate the aircraft.
The striking pilots of the erstwhile Air India are demanding security of their seniority and career advancement prospects which they feel will be hampered post the merger of Indian Airlines (domestic) and pre-merged Air India in 2007. The stir led to the cancellation of 12 international flights till Friday morning.
Air India has so far sacked 46 agitating pilots, media reports said.
Also, about 50 pilots of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd called in sick late Thursday, protesting non-payment of due salaries. The carrier canceled 29 flights since Thursday.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today said that he has been asked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that air fares don't rise because of the strikes.
"I updated the PM on latest developments. Whatever we are doing is according to the government policy. He has asked me to ensure that fares should not be increased because of these strikes. The Cabinet has approved huge amount in the turnover plan to save Air India, but Air India family (union) should understand and co-operate," the aviation minister told reporters after meeting the Prime Minister.