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No charging check-in baggage: Govt on budget airlines’ move

Bag check in

New Delhi: A move by budget carriers to charge for check-in baggage was today rejected by the government which was not in favour of putting this burden on the passengers.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said the airlines concerned had approached the aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) for its nod for their proposal but the government has not accepted the request.

“We have got the proposal from low-cost flights to charge for check-in baggage. We have rejected it and there will be no consideration at the Aviation Ministry level. We will not want to put this burden on passengers,” Sharma said.

Sharma said that his ministry has asked the airlines to send a detailed proposal on the issue and if it is found in the interest of the passengers, it may consider it.

DGCA is looking into a proposal made by three Indian carriers by which travellers will have to shell out for every kilogram of the checked luggage. The proposal, at the same time, envisages providing incentives for passengers who travel light.

A senior DGCA official said yesterday that SpiceJet, Indigo and AirAsia have approached the regulator with the idea of ‘zero baggage fare’, whereby passengers having no check in luggage would be given a discount on the ticket.

When contacted, a SpiceJet official today said the March 2015 circular of the DGCA allows airlines to unbundle services.

An AirAsia India official said he was not aware of the government stand while an IndiGo spokesperson could not immediately be contacted for his response.

Other airlines, including full-service carriers, are also reported to be in favour of ‘zero baggage fare’.

Such a system would do away with the current practice of passengers being allowed to carry up to 15 kg of check-in luggage free of cost.

In April this year, DGCA had allowed domestic carriers to unbundle their services and charge separately for facilities such as preferred seats, meals on board and use of lounges.

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