Sunday, August 13, 2023

Centre turns down Kerala’s request to intervene to regulate airfares ahead of Onam

The Central government has turned down the plea of the State to intervene and regulate the exorbitant rise in airfares from foreign countries to Kerala during the Onam season. The Centre also didn’t entertain Kerala’s request to allow necessary clearance to operate chartered flights to bring in low-income Kerala diaspora from the West Asian cities.

In reply to a request from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia explained that airlines were free to fix the fares, keeping in mind market dynamics. Further, there was only 9.77% increase in airfares during the time of Onam compared to normal, said the Union Minister. In his letter to the Chief Minister, Mr. Scindia also clarified that due to the dynamic pricing system followed by the airlines, the only available option was for passengers to book tickets in advance.

In the case of chartered flights, the Centre informed the State that chartered flights could be allowed on a case-by-case basis. The Central decision to turn down the State’s request literally left the expats in the lurch. Though the Centre clarified that there was only an increase of 9.77$ in airfares during Onam, the airfares would witness an increase of three to sixfold jump ahead of the Onam days. Normally, the fares would increase manifold in the dynamic pricing system when the demand for the seat picks up. Already, the airfare from Kerala to West Asia is among the highest to that region from India, especially during the festival and vacation seasons.

12/08/2023 The Hindu

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