The DGCA has announced that fare capping domestic flights will be extended and that domestic flight capacity sustained at 80% of pre -COVID levels till May 31. In March, the DGCA altered the fare band set initially during the lockdown on the domestic flights to cap the flight prices. In its latest alteration, government has hiked the minimum fare band by 5 percent, as indicated in a report. In February, govt increased the limit on the minimum and maximum price band by 10% and 30% respectively. The price capping was put on domestic flight operators to keep the ticket prices in check due to the limited number of flights. The price capping was put in place on May 25 when domestic flights were restarted in a calibrated manner.
On May 21, the aviation regulator DGCA issued the government-decided fare limits for these bands — domestic flights with less than 40-minute duration to have lower and upper limits of Rs 2,000 and Rs 6,000, for 40-60 minutes Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500, for 60-90 minutes Rs 3,000 and Rs 9,000, for 90-120 minutes Rs 3,500 and Rs 10,000, for 120-150 minutes Rs 4,500 and Rs 13,000, for 150-180 minutes Rs 5,500 and Rs 15,700 and for 180-210 minutes Rs 6,500 and Rs 18,600.
As per the previous hike, the upper price band on 180-210 minute flight which was earlier capped at Rs 18,600 was increased by 30% to Rs 24,200, an increase of Rs 5,600. Now as per the new hike, the lower price band is increased 5 percent over the previous hike. The previous hike increased the minimum price from Rs 6,500 to Rs 7,150. Now with the increase of 5 percent, the prices will start at Rs 7500.
Emphasising that capping of airfares was an “extraordinary measure", Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri earlier said the price bands are expected to be done away with once flight services reach pre-COVID-19 levels. Replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said the civil aviation sector was completely closed down on March 23, 2020, and was reopened on May 25 in a slow and calibrated manner by putting in place SOPs, provisions for seamless contactless travel and a large number of other measures.