Autorickshaw Fare Exceeds Airline Fare, Says Delhi High Court While Refusing to Cap Airfares

Observing that the airline industry is “very, very competitive” and its players are incurring “huge losses,” the Delhi High Court on May 15 stated it would not be appropriate to pass any directions for capping airfares across the country.

“Market forces will decide the pricing of tickets. The industry is doing very well today. You look at any airline flying today, it is a highly competitive industry. An autorickshaw fare is more than the airline fare today,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P.S. Arora remarked.

The court disposed of two petitions seeking regulation of flight ticket pricing and mentioned that it would pass a detailed order later. “Today, the industry is very, very competitive. You will find those who are running airlines are into huge losses,” the bench noted, adding that significant investments are coming into this sector. “Let’s not make it more regulated,” the bench advised. “It is a well-controlled sector. Every industry which is doing well need not be tampered with,” the bench emphasized.

The court mentioned that stray incidents do not warrant judicial intervention through public interest litigations (PILs) to impose new regulations on the sector. The two PILs were filed by advocate Amit Sahni and consumer rights activist Bejon Misra, represented by lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi.

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The petitioners urged the court to pass directions to cap airfares across the country to prevent customers from being “fleeced arbitrarily” by airlines.

The counsel for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) opposed the plea, arguing that airfares depend on the routes and the availability of planes. Sometimes, there are very few passengers on a flight, yet the aircraft still operates, the counsel pointed out.

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