Seven price bands for domestic air tickets from Monday

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New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday came out with seven price bands comprising 14 maximum and minimum fares for different routes that will be offered to passengers for domestic air travel starting May 25.

Aviation sector regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a circular outlining the fares on which airlines will offer tickets.

"Whereas it is necessary to ensure that the airlines do not charge excessive fare on the one hand and also to ensure that journey is performed only for essential purposes, it is, therefore, necessary to fix a fare band within which the airlines should charge a fare," the DGCA said in a circular.

As per the details, the seven price bands are based on the duration of the flights with 'A' being the shortest and 'G' being the longest.

Based on the circular, sector 'A' has routes with travel time of less than 40 minutes; the airlines will offer tickets in the band of Rs 2,000 to Rs 6,000 for such flights. This sector includes routes such as Delhi-Chandigarh, Jammu-Srinagar, and Patna-Ranchi, among others.

Similarly, sector 'B' has flights with duration of more than 40 minutes up to 60 minutes. Flights under this sector include Delhi-Bhopal and Delhi-Lucknow, among others, and tickets for these flights will be priced from Rs 2,500 to Rs 7,500.

Subsequently, sector 'C' has a price band of Rs 3,000 to Rs 9,000, whereas sector 'D' flight tickets will be priced from Rs 3, 500 Rs 10,000. Sector 'D' includes routes like Delhi-Mumbai, among others.

Other sectors such as 'E' has a price band of Rs 4,500 Rs 13,000, while sector 'F' tickets will cost between Rs 5,500 and Rs 15,700.

For the longest duration segment – 'G' – tickets will cost between Rs 6,500 and Rs 18,600. This sector includes routes like Delhi-Port Blair.

"At least 40 per cent of the tickets of a particular flight shall be sold for the fare less than the mid-fare between minimum and maximum fares (excluding UDF, PSF, and GST)," the circular said.

The circular came after Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said at a press conference on Thursday that domestic passenger flight services recommencing from Monday will have a fixed minimum and maximum fare structure for different routes.

While detailing the plans to re-start domestic operations, he said the step has been taken under the special prevailing circumstances that have come about due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

India has allowed airlines to recommence domestic passenger flight operations in a calibrated manner from May 25.

Passenger air services were suspended for both scheduled domestic and international flights since March 25, due to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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