Flyers, airlines get fare deal in aviation policy
GAMECHANGER? Cabinet nod to cap airfares for hour-long flights at `2,500
NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a new civil aviation policy that aims to promote flights to smaller cities as well as to overseas destinations.
The first goal is to be met by capping fares on regional flights to Rs2,500 an hour, and giving airlines incentives to fly routes no one does at present. The second will be attained by allowing new airlines to fly overseas immediately if they have at least 20 aircraft or 20% of their seats deployed on domestic routes.
The catch is that flyers to big cities will have to shell out a little extra for a cess whose collections will compensate airlines for flying regional routes under the R2,500 fare cap. “It will be a very very small levy,” said civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said. The details will be in the regional connectivity scheme whose draft will be put up for public discussions in the next 10 days.
“The #CivilAviationPolicy approved today by the Cabinet will transform the sector & greatly benefit passengers… (it) gives an impetus to affordability, regional connectivity, safety, infrastructure, which is vital for #TransformingIndia,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Calling it India’s first ever integrated civil aviation policy, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said it will be a “game-changer for the sector”.
The changes, to begin with, were visible in the way airlines responded. CONTINUED ON P10