New Delhi: The price bands imposed on domestic airlines in 2020 during the pandemic will be removed on August 31, the country’s civil aviation ministry said on Wednesday, lifting restrictions on ticket prices.
According to a notification by the DGCA, “after review of the current status of Scheduled Domestic Operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel in terms of the purpose specified in the initial Order No. 02/2020 dated 21.05.2020, it has been decided to remove the fare bands notified from time to time regarding airfares with effect from 31.08.2022.” The decision will bring relief to airlines including IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India, and Vistara as well as new entrant Akasa Air, allowing them to price tickets freely. While there is risk airfares could be hiked, airlines are more likely to offer deep discounts on tickets to fill up their flights and encourage more flyers during the current lean period. Previously, airlines could not offer discounts because of the restrictions in place and with no price-band restrictions to operate within; aviation firms can lower ticket fares and bring in the much-needed funds for cash-strapped companies.
The decision was made after the government started discussions with several airlines in June, about removing the price bands for passenger fares. This took place following the demand from some airlines for the same, saying that this is becoming a hurdle for the aviation industry to recover fully after the Covid-19 pandemic.