Domestic air travel is set to become costlier as the Civil Aviation Ministry has raised the lower as well as upper caps on fares by 9.83 to 12.82 percent, according to an official order. India had imposed lower and upper limits on airfares based on flight duration when services were resumed on May 25, 2020, after a two-month lockdown due to coronavirus.
The lower caps were imposed to help the airlines that have been struggling financially due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. The upper caps were imposed so that passengers are not charged huge amounts when the demand for seats is high.
In an order dated August 12, 2021, the ministry increased the lower limit for flights under 40 minutes of duration from Rs 2,600 to Rs 2,900 -- an increase of 11.53 percent. The upper cap for flights under 40 minutes of duration was increased by 12.82 percent to Rs 8,800.
Similarly, flights with duration between 40-60 minutes have a lower limit of Rs 3,700 instead of Rs 3,300 now, the order said. The upper cap on these flights was increased by 12.24 percent to Rs 11,000 on Thursday.
The flights with duration between 60-90 minutes have a lower limit of Rs 4,500 -- an increase of 12.5 percent. The upper cap on these flights was increased by 12.82 percent to Rs 13,200 on Thursday.
Now, domestic flights of duration between 90-120, 120-150, 150-180 and 180-210 minutes have lower caps of Rs Rs 5,300, Rs 6,700, Rs 8,300 and Rs 9,800, respectively, as per the ministry's order.
Till date, domestic flights of duration between 90-120, 120-150, 150-180 and 180-210 minutes had the lower limits of Rs 4,700, Rs 6,100, Rs 7,400 and Rs 8,700, respectively. The lower cap on flights between 120-150 minutes duration was increased by 9.83 percent to Rs 6,700, as per the new order.
On Thursday, the upper caps on domestic flights of duration between 90-120, 120-150, 150-180 and 180-210 minutes were increased by 12.3 percent, 12.42 percent, 12.74 percent and 12.39 percent, respectively, as per the order.
The caps mentioned by the government in its order does not include the passenger security fee, user development fee for the airports and the GST. These charges are added on top when the ticket is being booked by the passenger. The ministry's order on Thursday stated that the government has taken this decision of increasing the lower limits as well as the upper limits keeping in mind the "prevailing situation of COVID-19" in the country.