Airlines in India may have colluded to hike fares - CCI

Antitrust watchdog writes to the civil aviation ministry, seeks information on the pattern of fares since June

deevakar

Deevakar Anand | December 23, 2010



The competition commission of India (CCI) suspects a cartel among the domestic airlines. Top official sources have told The Indian Express that the watchdog prima facie believed the airlines have colluded to affect a hike in fares.

Last-minute-price of domestic tickets had doubled in mid-November on different routes. CCI has written to the civil aviation ministry asking if the recent hike should not be probed.

Civil aviation minister Prafulla Patel has recently been indicating in his statements that the fare hike issue may be referred to CCI. The antitrust body can also take a suo motu cognizance of the matter.

The regulator, in its letter has sought information on the pattern of fares since June. Such a data is maintained by the directorate general of civil aviation’s (DGCA) tariff monitoring unit (TMU) and is shared with the ministry.

The competition watchdog’s move has concurred with the civil aviation ministry’s move to obtain a feedback on ways to bring transparency in airfare. A group comprising air passengers, airline CEOs and travel experts, a part of the civil aviation economic advisory council (CAEAC) formed earlier this month to look into rising airfares, have been asked by the ministry to submit a report in this regard.

Based on the report’s findings on disparity in airline fares, reduction in domestic fleet size and the ambiguity in tax structure, among other issues, the ministry will recommend measures to the airlines.


 

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