Tuesday, May 07, 2013

DGCA to set norms to cap paid-for seats in flights

Mumbai:The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is looking at framing regulations to cap the number of preferential seats airlines can offer in a flight. The move comes after the civil aviation ministry decided to allow Indian carriers to charge passengers for add-on services like their foreign counterparts.
“Customers should have the choice to opt in for preferential seats. Besides, the middle seat in an aircraft cannot be termed a preferential one. There would be a cap on the number of preferential seats an airline can offer in a flight,” a senior DGCA official said, requesting anonymity. “We are looking at framing some regulations which would be in line with international norms.”
Industry estimates indicate while internationally, around 10 per cent of capacity is earmarked preferential in airlines, in India, if window and aisle seats are put up for pre-booking in lieu of a specified fee, two-thirds of in-flight capacity can yield ancillary revenues.
In a move which is expected to improve the operating costs of airlines, the ministry had allowed Indian carriers to unbundle certain services and charge these separately.
07/05/13 Sharmistha Mukherjee/Business Standard