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Govt has not analysed whether airlines slashed fuel surcharge

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju

New Delhi: The government has not carried out any analysis on whether Indian carriers have brought down fuel surcharge on air tickets in view of the “considerable” decline in jet fuel prices, Lok Sabha was informed today.

Asked whether Indian airlines have reduced the fuel surcharge in view of decline in Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said “no such analysis has been carried out by the Ministry”.

Citing the fall in ATF prices, he said with the decrease, “the cost of operation of airline has accordingly come down”.

To a query on whether ATF price has declined considerably during the last year and current year, he replied in the affirmative.

There was also a question on action proposed to be taken by the government to pass on the benefit to air passengers.

Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) accounts for about 40-50 per cent of an airline’s operating costs and its price has declined in recent times.

In a written reply, the Minister said that under the existing regulation, airfares are not regulated by the government and airlines are free to fix reasonable charges/fee subject to compliance with Aircraft Rules 1937.

Noting that reforms in the civil aviation sector are introduced depending on requirements, the Minister said a draft civil aviation policy has been brought out.

“The policy has placed focus on e-governance, which would include digitisation of filling of systems and provision of online services by the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and other organisations.

“Government also proposes to encourage the deployment of smaller aircraft and helicopters to improve regional connectivity,” he said.

In another written reply, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said the government is yet to take a decision on setting up of an ombudsman for the civil aviation sector.

To a query on Air India Charter Ltd (AICL), Sharma said it is in the process of leasing five more aircraft for induction during 2016-17.

Currently, AICL has a fleet of 17 B737-800 NG aircraft.

The company has concluded a dry lease agreement for leasing of three more such aircraft.

“These aircraft are expected to be inducted into the airline’s fleet between March and May, 2016 at a monthly lease rental of USD 3,57,000 per aircraft.

“The Maintenance Reserve Contribution would be approximately USD 85,000 per month based on utilisation,” he said in another written reply.

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