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"COVID destroyed financial viability of airlines but..": Civil Aviation Minister responds on air price hike issue in Lok Sabha

7 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], December 7 (ANI): Citing the huge losses faced by the airlines due to the impact of Coronavirus on the aviation sector, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in Lok Sabha on Thursday said that even in that scenario airlines have operated on a sustainable model.

Replying to the question raised by IUML MP ET Mohammed Basheer, on the issue of air price hike and whether the government has any control over it, Jyotiraditya Scindia said, "Civil aviation is a seasonal sector. You have a high season and you have a low season. From October till mid Jan it's a high season after that it's a low season until May, June after when again holiday season starts.""This is not limited to India alone this is a global phenomenon, we have monitored fairs, and we have a tariff monitoring unit that looks at 60 routes randomly," he added.

He further said that airlines have made losses of about Rs 55,000 crores to Rs 1,32,000 crores on an annual basis recently.

"COVID has completely destroyed the financial viability of airlines, still our airlines have operated on a very sustainable basis," Scindia said.

He further informed the Lower House that there is a decline in fares across most routes for months of January to October in the year 2022 and the same trend was witnessed from January to October 2023.

"Apart from month of January, there has been a decline across most of the routes keeping seasonality in mind when there is seasonality then the fares do go up," he said.

Scindia further mentioned that the hike in prices of airfares has not gone up in proportion to the recent surge in prices of air turbine fuel.

"Air turbine fuel is close to 40 per cent of the operating cost of the airline. ATF prices have gone up from Rs 55,000 per kilo litre to 1,50,000 per kilo litre and airfares have gone nowhere in rationale to that," he said.

On the question raised by the Revolutionary Socialist Party NK Premachandran on who is the authority for regulatory mechanism, Scindia said, "Civil aviation is a Deregulated sector. It was deregulated in the year 1993. We do have a Tariff Monitoring Unit that monitors 60 routes on a random basis, When we find there is excessive pricing we convey that to airlines," he said.

The winter session of the Parliament began on December 4 and will culminate on December 22. (ANI)

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