Soaring airfares major dampener for Kashmir tourism: Parl Panel

GoAir offers special low fares starting at Rs 736

A Parliamentary panel has stated that the airfares to J&K during peak season go equivalent to those on foreign destinations as a result of which people prefer visiting foreign countries.

In its report, the department-related Parliamentary standing committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has said: “Exorbitant price of air tickets is a major dampener. Escalating airfares of ‘low cost’ carriers during the peak season are a major deterrent to increasing footfall in the region. The airfares are equivalent to that of the nearby foreign destinations and given the sensitivity of the region, tourists would prefer to visit nearby foreign destinations at the same airfare rather than visit J&K,”

While the Parliamentary panel report mentioned that the Ministry of Tourism in its reply has stated that it has taken up the matter with Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on the said observation earlier, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation had informed that “at present, airfares are not controlled by the government.”

“Airlines offer fares on various levels which are driven by demand and market forces and as the demand goes up the seats on lower fare levels get filled. This is a global practice in the aviation industry. Pricing forms the strategic framework, day-to-day tactical changes in pricing respond to demand/supply and market dynamics works through the Inventory Management process,” the reply reads.

It states that airlines are free to fix the reasonable tariff under the provision of Aircraft Rules 1937 having regard to all relevant factors, and the generally prevailing tariff. Air fares are not fixed by the Government as they are determined by the interplay of market forces. Airlines remain compliant to the regulatory provisions of Sub-Rule 2 of rule 135.

“The domestic airline pricing runs in multiple levels (bucket or RBD) which is in line with the practice followed globally. The lower fare in the fare bucket is available for advance booking much earlier.”

“As time lapses and the date of journey approaches closer, the fare in the higher side of the fare bucket is made available as per the respective airline policy. In order to identify the fare and conditions of travel on passenger tickets, airlines worldwide follow IATA Resolution 728 which contains information on various booking classes referred to as Reservation Booking Designator(RBD). The RBD is the code used in reservation transactions to identify the booking class.”

It is pertinent to mention that the panel headed by Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh T G Venkatesh undertook a study visit of Srinagar and Gulmarg from January 21 to 23.