Delhi HC rejects airfare capping plea, cites competitive market and airline losses

Delhi HC rejects airfare capping plea, cites competitive market and airline losses

Delhi HC rejects airfare capping plea, cites competitive market and airline losses

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Observing that the airline industry is “very very competitive” and plagued by “huge losses,” the Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to pass any directions to cap airfares across the country. The bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora, highlighted the market dynamics in determining ticket prices.

“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,” the bench remarked.

The court addressed two petitions that sought regulation of flight ticket pricing and indicated it would issue a detailed order. The bench emphasized the healthy competition within the airline sector and noted the substantial investments being funnelled into the industry, suggesting that further regulation was unnecessary.

“Today the industry is very very competitive. You will find those who are running airlines are into huge losses,” the bench stated, adding, “Let’s not make it more regulated. It is a well-controlled sector. Every industry which is doing well need not be tampered with.”

The bench further asserted that isolated incidents do not justify bringing the entire sector under the new regulation, dismissing the public interest litigations (PIL) filed by advocate Amit Sahni and consumer rights activist Bejon Misra, represented by lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi.

The petitioners urged the court to impose caps on airfares nationwide to prevent arbitrary pricing by airlines. However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) opposed the plea, arguing that airfares are influenced by various factors, including route and aircraft availability. They also noted that flights sometimes operate with very few passengers, which affects pricing strategies.