When domestic flights had resumed partially on May 25, 2020 — after nationwide lockdown in wake of Covid-19 pandemic for 2 months — govt had imposed certain conditions like passengers being required to do web check-in. Since then many airlines have started levying a fee from domestic passengers for check-in at airport counters.
On Friday, a passenger took to Twitter to complain about airlines charging a fee for check-in by comparing it to a restaurant charging a customer extra for serving meals on a plate.
Another person tagged Union aviation minister J M Scindia, while terming the practice as “ridiculous”.
To this, the minister replied: “Agreed, will examine this asap.”
Agreed, will examine this asap! https://t.co/KkY8b0xP93
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) 1652447146000
Being a commercial decision by struggling to survive Indian airlines, it remains to be seen how the government can get them to reconsider this cess. Especially, when the operating cost for airlines is at highest ever level at the moment due to aviation turbine fuel (ATF) being at record high prices and the rupee at record low. Russia’s war on Ukraine has pushed oil to all time highs.
High base price of ATF — its prices keep rising even as politically sensitive petrol and diesel have been spared from the rise in recent days — coupled with even higher rates of VAT and excise duty has made jet fuel for domestic flights in India among the most expensive globally.
States with India’s biggest aviation hubs of IGI Airport and Mumbai — Delhi and Maharashtra — are yet to cut VAT on ATF. The Centre has also not reduced excise on jet fuel — a long standing demand of airlines.
Indian carriers have been seeking relief on fuel front from the government for a long time.
On the other hand domestic fare bands, decided by the aviation ministry, applicable to tickets sold for flights within 15 days of departure from booking have not been revised upwards for many months now despite the relentless hike in jet fuel prices.