Friday, July 12, 2019

Unauthorised agents, airlines’ nexus on airfares: J&K Police

Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch, which has been conducting an investigation into sudden surge in airfares, particularly in the Delhi-J&K sector, has found out a “nexus between airlines and unauthorised ticketing agents”. This, the police claims, creates “an artificial demand by blocking a large chunk of seats in a flight and thus ensuring a surge in price of the tickets for air travel”.
Senior Superintendent of Police Crime Branch, Kashmir, Javaid Koul told The Indian Express that the probe was initiated after the J&K government took a serious note of the “illogical surge in the price of tickets in our (Srinagar-Delhi/Srinagar-Jammu) sector” earlier this year and sought a probe. “The airlines aren’t cooperating despite several reminders. They are avoiding to hand over their records to us,’’ he said.
“The modus operandi is simple: these unauthorised ticketing agents book a large chunk of tickets without identifying the passengers. And as there is lesser number of tickets available in open market, especially online, the prices surge phenomenally. Subsequently, the ticketing agents sell these group tickets to individuals at higher price. The airlines allow the ticketing agents to identify the passengers at the last minute,” Koul explained.
Koul said they apprehend that this illegal practice is going on across the country and needs to be thoroughly probed. “It seems to be a secret agreement between two or more parties to limit open competition and gain an unfair market advantage,” he said, adding that the ticketing agents have to follow a procedure to identify passengers in a group ticket seven days or three days in advance. “They don’t do that. The ticketing agents sell their tickets after an artificial surge in price. It is only possible because the airlines accept it … ‘’ he explained.
12/07/19 Muzamil Jaleel/Indian Express
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