Hike in airfare limits: Puri says ATF prices risen by 3 times since May 2020

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) Aviation turbine fuel price has risen by three times since resumption of scheduled domestic flights on May 25, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday, explaining the Centre's decision to raise lower and upper limits on domestic airfares by 10 to 30 per cent.

While announcing resumption of scheduled domestic flights in May last year, the Aviation ministry had placed limits on airfares through seven bands classified on the basis of flight duration.

The first band consists of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration. On Thursday, for this band, the lower limit was increased on from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,200 and the upper limit was increased from Rs 6,000 and Rs 7,800.

Puri said on Twitter on Monday, 'When domestic flights resumed after lockdown price fare bands applicable only on economy fares were introduced to inspire public confidence and to ensure no inconvenience was caused to public.' 'Since then, price of crude oil has risen from USD 30 to USD 60 per barrel. Prices of Aviation turbine fuel have gone up from Rs 17,000 per kilolitre to Rs 51,000 per kilolitre. However, fare levels have been raised by 10 per cent at lower band and 30 per cent at higher band. Due to higher supply, most travel takes place at lower band.' As an example Delhi-Mumbai fare at lower band has gone up from Rs 3,500 to Rs 3,900, he said.

'It is still comparable to 2nd class AC fares on Railways. In 2010, Delhi-Mumbai airfare was in the range of Rs 4,000. So, fares have remained unchanged for more than a decade,' the minister noted.

The other fare bands are for flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes.

The fresh lower and upper limits set by the ministry for these bands on Thursday were: Rs 2,800 - Rs 9,800; Rs 3,300 – Rs 11,700; Rs 3,900 – Rs 13,000; Rs 5,000 – Rs 16,900; Rs 6,100 – Rs 20,400; Rs 7,200 – Rs 24,200, respectively.

Before Thursday, the lower and upper limits for these bands were: Rs 2,500 - Rs 7,500; Rs 3,000 - Rs 9,000; Rs 3,500 - Rs 10,000; Rs 4,500 - Rs 13,000; Rs 5,500 - Rs 15,700 and Rs 6,500 - Rs 18,600, respectively.

Aviation regulator DGCA had said on May 21 last year that each airline would sell at least 40 per cent of its tickets on a flight at prices less than the midpoint between the lower limit and upper limit. PTI DSP NSD NSD