Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday said existing fare caps act as a protector for air travelers as well as airlines and indicated that doing away with the curbs could be looked at once the environment stabilizes in terms of passenger traffic and jet fuel prices.
Domestic air passenger traffic has almost recovered to pre-COVID levels and has been crossing the 4 lakh-mark on some days in recent times. However, jet fuel prices are at a high level and many states have reduced the taxes levied on the fuel.
Interacting with reporters in New Delhi, Scindia said fare capping, which is done on a rolling basis, protects passengers from being charged exorbitant fares.
"I still have an environment where ATF prices are still very high, I want to protect the passengers and also the airlines... I have to ensure that the environment is stable and I need multiple airlines to proliferate in my country and then I need to create that arena where multiple airlines can operate," he said.
At present, fare capping is applicable on a rolling basis for a 15-day cycle, and the situation is monitored by the civil aviation ministry.
Emphasizing that the civil aviation space is on the path of stabilization after being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the minister said it can be considered fine once the passenger traffic is stable for a quarter, and also the ATF (aviation turbine fuel) price should come down so that airlines are healthy.
"Fare cap is a protector on both sides, on the upper side and the lower side... as soon as that (stable) period comes into place... I have the least desire to interfere and I need to create a nice feel so that you guys (industry) can play," Scindia said.
He also asserted that his role is to be a facilitator and also ensure that entities play by the rules.