Domestic flights to resume from 25 May: Govt can dictate fare capping to private airlines only if it provides discounts on gasoline, other charges – Firstpost

The authorities’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be adopted earlier than taking a flight has been largely welcomed by specialists within the aviation sector. Everyone agrees that after lockdown measures introduced to comprise the unfold of coronvirus is vital and mandatory for the federal government to have come out with an in depth SOP. Some welcomed it as a ‘good thought-out gesture’ by the federal government.

Experts in aviation sector identified the issues within the authorities’s SOPs:

Capping of fares

The authorities will regulate fares and it will likely be in a set vary with a minimal and a most fare already set for the route. Aviation specialists marvel who gave the federal government recommendation on this matter.

“Fixing refunds earlier and now fixing fares – even though temp and in emergency only – is unfortunate,” stated Kapil Kaul, CEO & Director, CAPA South Asia-an advisory and analysis agency focussed on aviation and aerospace.” Kaul stated, within the absence of demand knowledge and with persevering with uncertainty, he stated he was undecided what inputs have been used to arrive on the fare bands.
According to knowledge launched by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA, airlines had zero passengers for the final six days in March. Airlines flew 7.eight million passengers, in opposition to 11.5 million in March in opposition to the identical month final yr. Airlines in India are doubtless to endure a income lack of $11.2 billion, main to 2.9 million jobs in danger as passenger demand will fall by 47 per cent, in accordance to the most recent estimates by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

File picture of Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri. PTI

In this backdrop, the federal government capping fares and likewise permitting only 1/third of flights to function underneath strict guidelines when home flight providers resume on 25 May will hit the sector. Jitendra Bhargava, former ED, Air India stated the sector has been going by means of a tough time with gasoline hikes, no flights since lockdown and having to pay salaries to their staff. ““These rules will not impact much on those airlines which have cash reserves, but what about those who are struggling,” he stated.

One-third of flights allowed to function

After being not allowed to fly due to the lockdown measures, the announcement about opening up of the sector would have been good if the airlines have been allowed to deploy al their fleet. “The government cannot say flights should be only 30 percent full or decide on fares. This is a matter of supply and demand,” stated Mark D Martin, Founder and CEO, Martin Consultancy, and aviation consultancy agency. He stated that the capping may go for airlines which can be doing effectively like a Go Air or Indigo Airlines which have low working prices and no debt. But what concerning the others, he stated.

If the federal government was eager on capping fares, it ought to have carried out that within the case of Air India, which it owns, “stated Ajay Awtaney, enterprise journey and aviation journalist and the founding father of the Indian frequent-traveller web site Live From A Lounge. He stated,the federal government was setting a unsuitable precedent.

The authorities has carried out this prior to now within the type of placing out an advisory. In 2018, the Central authorities had requested home airlines to hold a verify on air fares for flights working to and from Kerala because the state was suffers from one of many worst bouts of floods within the latest previous as a ‘humanitarian cause’. The authorities was profitable at it too.

Awtaney stated he fears that if this capping of fares works out effectively within the modified circumstances, the federal government could not need to roll it again. “Airlines have been paying bills and there no cash that they have generated in the months of shutdown. Now they need to generate cash for immediate needs. The 1/3rd rule of taking passengers and capping fares still does not help when it comes to airlines having to pay navigational charges, landing charges, fuel charges. The government is not offering any discounts on it. The govt is not helping the airline and should not be in the business,” he stated.

Quarantine coverage

Puri stated, people who find themselves optimistic is not going to be allowed to board the flights. But Assam authorities got here out with a press release that the state authorities would quarantine passengers coming travelling on flights besides crew members.“If anybody will be found violating the mandatory quarantine of 14 days, a criminal case will be filed against them and they will be arrested. Nobody will be spared no matter how powerful or influential he/she is,” Himanta Biswa Sarma stated.

Awtaney stated there’s a massive query mark on quarantine coverage. He stated when international locations within the European Union have managed to come out with frequent customary of flying and no quarantine interval for these travelling throughout the EU, why ought to states in India act like a nation. “There should be a harmonious policy going forward. There needs to be unified policy and this should be out before the airlines start ticketing,” Awtaney stated.

Arogya Setu app

The passengers are anticipated to certify the standing of their well being by means of the Aarogya Setu app or a self-declaration kind,” Puri stated throughout a press briefing on the resumption of home air journey within the nation.

Not many agree that it will likely be an excellent resolution. The satan is within the execution, they stated. “We are good at making guidelines however what about implementation, stated Bhargava.

For starters, the app has to be downloaded and that can be an irritant for a lot of who should not tech-savvy. Some passengers could also be randomly checked and their swabs taken. “Do airports have the time for this? Travel is an ordeal in itself and with these rules, the government is making it a horrible nightmare. I welcome the move by the government but they have to factor these rules do not delay flights,” stated Martin. He would quite the federal government focussed extra on the hygiene as that’s essential, he stated.

Passengers are anticipated to carry a printout of their tickets. “Do all passengers have printers at their homes? It would have been easier to allow for printouts in the airport instead,” recommended Bhargava.


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