New Delhi, Jun 27: The issue of 'high' air fares imposed by airlines figured prominently
in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour on Thursday with the opposition members suggesting that the air operation should not be used as a means of profiteering.
Asking supplementary questions, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) floor leader Pinaki Misra drew the attention of the House that when the Delhi-Chandigarh land route was disturbed, the 'half an hour' flight fare had gone up to Rs 90,000 a few years back and recently during Fani cyclone in Odisha sectors the flight fares had gone up to Rs 45,000. Private operators should not be allowed to make profits "during difficult times", Mr Misra insisted and his question was admired by several opposition members.
Answering to the query, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said while it may not be a feasible solution to fix a cap, the government was sensitive to the matter. But as he tried to explain the methodology adopted by the air carriers and suggested that even air operators work under stressing situations, several opposition members including Manish Tewari (Congress) and Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress) were up on their feet saying "are you justifying such high prices".
Mr Puri, however, maintained he is not trying to justifying high prices slapped by air operators.At one point ruling party member Rajiv Pratap Rudy, a former Civil Aviation Minister, said the members should maintain calm and let the Minister explain the government stand. Earlier Anil Firoziya, BJP, wanted to know from the government whether complaints have been received regarding charging of arbitrary fares by the airlines from the passengers. He also wanted to know whether the government proposes to fix prices of air tickets or limit the maximum percentage of hike on the tickets.
Responding to him, Civil Aviation Minister Puri said: "As per prevailing regulation, all scheduled domestic airlines are required to be displayed route-wise and category wise fares. However, the issue of hike in airfare are brought to to the notice of this ministry from time to time."The Minister said: "With a view to maintain transparency, DGCA monitors airfares on certain routes selected on random basis to ensure that the airlines do not charge airfares outside the range declared by them".