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Domestic airlines duping with fare-price

A file photo of Spicejet plane

NEW DELHI (PTI): Domestic airlines are not “unanimous” in phasing out deceptive ticket pricing mechanism, low-cost carrier Spicejet CEO Sanjay Aggarwal has said, but he did not favour a government ban on such practice.

“When we took up the matter with the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), carriers were not unanimous,” Aggarwal told PTI when asked if the airlines disagreed to the deceptive ticket pricing during discussions at FIA.

Asked if the carriers, including Spicejet, were guilty of misleading the common man by advertising the base fare alone, which is way below the total price, he said, “Absolutely. Yes we are.”

The total airfare typically comprise base fare, fuel surcharge and various taxes and fees, but the airlines’ focus in their advertisements are mostly on base fares, which at times of promotions are as low as zero.

Virtually pleading helplessness in changing the practice on his own, Aggarwal said, “There are challenges… I have tried to take out the fuel surcharge component. It is very difficult to take it out, I have tried it”.

The Spicejet CEO added that when he joined the low-cost carrier last year, he “inherited the system” where the quoted fares were low and the actual price was much higher.

“If I could undo and do it all over again, I would take out the fuel surcharge component so that are there only base fare and taxes. But there will be one fare inclusive of fuel surcharge,” he said.

Asked if a regulatory role was needed in form of a total ban on deceptive practice, Aggarwal said, “The government has played a role. But, I do not think it requires to be mandated (through regulations).”

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked airlines to quote all-inclusive fares.

Even the Civil Aviation Ministry had requested the carriers to show taxes as nil, since passenger service fee is the only component of the ticket that goes to the government while all other parts of the fare are pocketed by the airlines.

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