Ashok Gajapathi Raju says Capping Not Required In Airfares


New Delhi : "Airlines might not be angels, but definitely they are not demons", Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday said amid concerns over arbitrary hike in air fares. Making it clear that there will not be a simplistic solution to deal with exorbitant rise in air fares, he reiterated that capping would not be an answer as that would also push up the floor prices.

"We did analysis which showed that 1.7 per cent of the tickets sold were of high cost. So, the last minute high price of ticket is matter of concern. But we should not land up in a situation that pushes price of over 90 per cent of passengers for benefit of 1.7 per cent,” added Raju. Rajiv Nayan Choubey, secretary at Ministry of Civil Aviation said, “The civil aviation policy is just the beginning. We wish to stay ahead of the growth curve and if we fall behind the growth curve, for example as it happened in case of urban development in the country, there will be aviation chaos in skies, airports.” 

The regional connectivity may find difficulty in taking off without reducing the cost of leasing, added Choubey. The Civil Aviation Ministry would look at the possibility of utilizing certain unused airports for the purpose of parking aircraft and use aerodromes for plane-breaking or dismantling of old aircraft. There are around 400 unused airports and airstrips across the country, he said. 

Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of Spicejet said that aviation India will grow only if we are able to constantly work to reduce the cost of aviation in India. “We have to bring down the cost or fares and stimulate this market with low fares. The 20 per cent growth we have seen today in the consequence of the reduction in fares from last year to this year and that must continue if you want to see sector growing,” Singh added.