Autorickshaw fare is more than airline fare, says HC while refusing capping of airfares

The Delhi High Court disposed of petitions seeking regulation of the pricing of flight tickets. File
| Photo Credit: AP

Observing that the airline industry is “very very competitive” and the players are running “huge losses”, the Delhi High Court on May 15 said it would not be appropriate to pass any directions for the capping of 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 auto rickshaw fare is more than the airline fare today,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P.S. Arora said.

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

It said stray incidents would not require the court to entertain public interest litigations (PIL) on the issue and bring the entire sector under any new regulation. The two PILs were filed by advocate Amit Sahni and consumer rights activist Bejon Misra, through lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi.

The petitioners urged the court to pass directions to cap airfares across the country so that customers are not “fleeced arbitrarily” by airlines.

The counsel for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) opposed the plea and submitted that the airfares depend on the routes as well as the availability of planes and sometimes there are very few passengers in the aircraft and yet they fly.