The ministry of civil aviation has increased the passenger capacity from 72.5 percent to 85 percent in a breather to the airlines as the Covid situation in the country is improving. At the same time, the ministry of civil aviation tweaked the fare band rule by making it applicable for only 15 days in a month which, in effect, may increase the price of flight tickets.
The ministry explained that if the current date is September 20, then the fare band will be applicable till October 4. So if you are booking a flight on September 20 for a date beyond October 4, then the fare band will not remain applicable. Similarly, if the booking is done on September 21, then the fare band will remain applicable only for 15 days that is till October 5.
What is the domestic price fare band?
The civil aviation ministry had fixed the upper and lower limit of airfares in 2020 when domestic flights resumed operation in a limited and staggered way after being suspended during the national lockdown. The aim of the exercise was to boost air traffic as aviation was one of the worst-affected sectors by the pandemic-induced lockdown. Recently, the ministry has revised the caps and increased both the upper and the lower limit. The new directive says that this cap will remain applicable only if the tickets are being booked 15 days in advance.
How will it affect airfares?
Emergency air travel will continue to be subsidised as the cap will be applicable to tickets being booked in 15 days advance. But if tickets are booked before a month, which is mostly the case for planned trips, there will be no price cap, which means, the airlines are free to fix their own fare chart.
This year, airfares have been hiked four times already and according to the present fare band, a flight under 40 minutes can cost a minimum of Rs. 2,900 and a maximum of Rs. 8,800. The highest duration flights of 180 to 210 minutes can cost a minimum of Rs. 9,800 and a maximum of 27,200. These caps will remain applicable when the ticket is booked only 15 days in advance.
In May 2020, the government cut down the capacity of domestic airlines to 33% to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid. Gradually, the capacity was increased to 45% and so on to finally reach 85 percent now.