Global airlines' grouping IATA 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, while aviation consultancy CAPA termed the decision as "bad an unfortunate".
The reactions came hours after the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that airfares would be capped for three months until August 24 as domestic flight services look all set to resume on May 25.
"Once we exit from this three-month period, we can either return to status quo ante which is a situation prevailing prior to COVID or we can have a market-based system that is equitable," Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.
Asserting that airlines need to make their "own commercial decisions, including the pricing of airfares" IATA Assistant Director (Corporate Communications - Asia Pacific) Albert Tjoeng said, "India's Air Corporation Act was repealed in 1994, so the announcement to regulate airfares more than 2 decades later comes across as certainly a step back."
CAPA South Asia's CEO and Director Kapil Kaul said that partial and calibrated resumption of flight services is welcome but cap on fares is a "bad and unfortunate decision".
"This decision will hurt airlines more than helping (them)... Interfering in pricing which is most strategic to airlines is taken based on wrong advice," Kaul said.
Here are the minimum and maximum flight prices as decided by the govt:
Less than 40 min: Minimum Rs 2000 and Maximum Rs 6000
40-60 min: Minimum Rs 2500 and Maximum Rs 7500
60-90 min: Minimum Rs 3000 and Maximum Rs 9000
90-120 min: Minimum Rs 3500 and Maximum Rs 10000
120-150 min: Minimum Rs 4500 and Maximum Rs 13000
150-180 min: Minimum Rs 5500 and Maximum Rs 15700
180-210 min: Minimum Rs 6500 and Maximum Rs 18600
With Inputs from Agencies