Airlines face SC wrath over tariffs

Questioning the levy of several unauthorised charges on fliers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked each airline to explain the criteria being followed by them while fixing tariffs and also place before it their tariff structures by Saturday.

It has also asked the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to give details of all the circulars being issued to scheduled domestic airlines on tariff fixation or collection of other charges from the passengers. The DGCA will also have to clarify as to what other charges can be recovered from passengers in addition to the base fare (BF) and whether it also includes all government taxes. The matter is listed for hearing on Monday.

Seeking an explanation on why various unapproved charges were slapped on travellers, a Bench comprising Justices DK Jain and Madan B Lokur asked the Federation of India Airlines (FIA) to give details of all the components, which are included in the tariff structure as also the total fare collected from a passenger on the basis of these components.

"The criteria to fix to-and-fro tariff shall also be indicated and also any minimum and maximum fare for any journey," the Bench said while asking DGCA to place all the instructions/orders, issued to scheduled domestic airlines, pertaining to fixation of tariff or collection of other charges.

Worried about massive airfares for those flying in and out of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), the Bench asked the airlines to show under what provision they were charges transaction fee when the same has been prohibited by DGCA in December last year. "You have no concern for the gullible passenger... refund it as you have details about the passengers... What is provided in the statute and what is being done, there seems to be a conflict between the two," the court told FIA, which comprises of seven scheduled domestic carriers BSE-listed Jet Airways and Spice jet, Jetlite, Kingfisher, Indigo, Go Air and Air India.

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