Thursday, January 03, 2019

Why the parliamentary panel is angry with domestic airlines

In December, the 41-member standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, headed by TMC MP Derek O'Brien, came out with its 268th report on the issues related to improving consumers' satisfaction of airlines. The report carries a series of recommendations that highlight the problems with the current aviation ecosystem. The panel report has come down heavily on private carriers for their alleged malpractices. Here are six pointers that squarely target the domestic airlines.

1. The panel has strongly recommended the need to cap the airfare for each sector to discourage airlines from predatory pricing of fares. The committee notes that the Indian conditions and needs of the people should be given consideration in regulating fares and luggage charges. It further suggested the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) and regulator DGCA to regulate airfares.
2. The committee says that excess baggage charges, charged by the airlines, are on the higher side. It says that the airlines should not consider excess baggage charges as an opportunity to increase revenues, and recommended that the civil aviation ministry must ensure that the excess baggage charges are lowered to a reasonable level.

3. The panel noted that the number of check-in counters and personnel deployed at those counters should be directly proportional to the number of flights being operated by the airlines. It has asked MoCA to take proactive steps to control malpractices of private airlines in deliberately delaying check-ins and artificial overbooking of flights through stringent actions and heavy penalties.

4. Due to their profit motive, the airlines in India are not providing adequate leg space to the passengers, says the report.  The panel has asked for the MoCA to consider laying down the design standards and guidelines for aircraft seating, especially in long haul flights, so as to improve manoeuvrability and convenience of passengers.
03/01/19 Manu KMaushik/Business Today