CCI’s timely action

Aviation minister was forced to look into these charges

The Rs 258-crore fine imposed by the Competition Commission of India on Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet for unfair trade practices, namely connivance by the three in fixing and revising the fuel surcharge even when aviation turbine fuel prices had come down, is unprecedented. Earlier, the CCI could not act (because it could not find enough evidence) when there were complaints that airlines were indulging in cartelisation in hiking airfares arbitrarily during the peak travel season. Even Prime Minister Modi had raised the issue of spiralling airfares after hearing complaints from Keralites in the Gulf about exorbitant ticket prices. The aviation minister was forced to look into these charges and ask the airlines sternly to desist from fleecing passengers.

The complaint against the three airlines was made by the Express Industry Council of India, which represents 29 parcel transportation firms. The airlines said they had to take various other aspects into consideration and not only the price of ATF. But the CCI rejected their explanations and said cartels, particularly in the cargo business, undermine development. The airlines will pursue legal steps against the CCI’s fine. However, it is hoped that this will serve as a deterrent to the airlines against cartelisation. The government has embarked on a programme to take flying to the masses in its new aviation policy and the CCI’s action comes at an opportune time.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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