Monday, May 14, 2018

CCI to monitor algorithms used in deciding air ticket pricing

In order to asses why airlines charge so much for a ticket during rush time, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) plans to look at the algorithms to check cartelisation.

CCI chief DK Sikri said, “Airlines often hike up air tickets and blame algorithms for it. So are algorithms the real reason why we end up paying so much for an airline ticket during rush time or are airlines hiding behind an algorithm to cartelise?”

Speaking at an ASSOCHAM event, Sikri said that collusion between digital players through self-learning algorithms was one of the biggest challenges that the Competition Law enforcers were facing.

“Algorithms are not systems that are moving on their own, somebody has designed them and there is some logic put into that,” said Sikri, while citing an example of an airline whose ticket prices shot up to Rs 60,000-Rs 90,000 for a Chandigarh-Delhi flight.
According to him, one suggestion was for the CCI to develop its own algorithm to look at the issue but that would require huge investment.

Another suggestion, he said, was to develop a hypothesis and “tell them (airlines) to satisfy the hypothesis with your algorithm. If it fails, hold them responsible”.
13/05/18 Anjali Gupta/Indian Wire