'Basic' problem of misleading airfares

15 December,2010 06:51 AM IST |   |  Bipin Kumar Singh

DGCA has repeatedly warned airlines against showing a very nominal basic fare, and then adding hefty taxes to the amount

DGCA has repeatedly warned airlines against showing a very nominal basic fare, and then adding hefty taxes to the amount

FREQUENT air travellers who are surprised at the really low base fare quotient in a ticket and, thus, the magnanimity of airlines, are in for a shock.

MiD DAY has discovered that airlines club different fees under a single head to give consumers the impression that the entire amount goes to the government, when, in fact, part of it makes its way into their own kitty.

The DGCA had, in a circular last year, pointed out to the airlines that they were not being honest with the airfare breakup.

It had asked them to specify clearly that the tax was being charged by the government but some of the fees were being charged by the airlines themselves.

Circular 9/9/2009-IR of the DGCA reads: It has been observed that many airlines have not been correctly indicating the tariff in media as well as on their documents.

The amount of basic fare is very small, while a hefty amount is shown as taxes/surcharges etc, which gives misleading information to the public. In order to correct this situation, rule 135 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, has been amended vide notification no GSR 254 (E).

Sub Rule 2 of GSR 254 (E) says: Tax means the amount payable to the government and the fees means the amount payable to the service providers shall also be mentioned in the air ticketu00a0

Warning repeated

When DGCA realised that airlines were not following the instructions in the circular, it repeated them in a circular dated November 19, 2010, in which it asked the airlines to maintain transparency and follow the provisions contained in the Sub Rule 2.

With the airfare fracas blowing up recently, airlines have begun to give a more detailed breakup of fares but the crucial clause of mentioning that the fees were being charged by the service providers is still missing in many airlines* fares.

Experts* take

Aviation expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan said, "There are many hidden details in the fare structure which are not explained properly to the passenger.

I think the DGCA guidelines can solve the problem of airlines misleading consumers if they are implemented properly, which, unfortunately, they are not.

I believe the current issue of exorbitant fares amounts to cartelisation."

Fare check
Highest fares for flights leaving today:
Mumbai-Delhi (Jet Airways): Rs 12,836
Mumbai-Kolkata (Indigo Airlines): Rs 11,181
Mumbai-Bangalore (Jet Airways): Rs 11,380
Mumbai- Jaipur (SpiceJet):u00a0 Rs 12,660
Mumbai-Goa (Jet Lite): Rs 12,391

Fact Sheet
- The Government of India has fixed the passenger service fee as Rs 225 on each sector, which is paid by the traveler

- Travellers also have to pay service tax of 10.2 percent on the total billing

- Different airports also charge Airport Development Fee (ADF) if the airport is under construction and User

Development Fee (UDF) if the airport is completed

- ADF and UDF charged at some prominent airports is as follows

Mumbai: Rs 100 for Domestic and Rs 600 for International (ADF)
Delhi: Rs 200 for Domestic and Rs 1300 for International (UDF)
Bangalore: Rs 260 for Domestic and Rs 1,070 for International (UDF)
Hyderabad: Rs 100 for Domestic and Rs 875 for International (ADF)

- The rest of the amount in the ticket, including the major component of fuel surcharge, goes to the airlines

DGCA airlines basic fare taxes misleading airfares
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