NEW DELHI: The DGCA has asked SpiceJet to stop selling tickets under a special sale it started Monday morning under which the cash-strapped airline was offering one-way base fares starting at Rs 899 (excluding taxes) on its domestic network.
When domestic flights were allowed to resume on May 25, the government had set the minimum and maximum fares on each route to ensure that airlines neither overcharge passengers nor do they charge unsustainably low fares and end belly up. The fare bands are effective till November 24, for now.
Hence, when SpiceJet announced its sale on Monday morning under which it was offering base fares starting at Rs 899 on some routes and/or offering complimentary flight voucher of up to Rs 2,000 for being redeemed on next booking, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) immediately sought clarification from it on whether the same violates the current fare rules. A SpiceJet spokesman said, “We have already complied with the DGCA directive.”
SpiceJet is learnt to have told the regulator that its Rs 899 offer is only for regional connectivity scheme (RCS) routes where the airline claims fares have not been capped — Hyderabad-Belgaum and Ahmedabad-Kishangarh. SpiceJet told the regulator that another low cost carrier (LCC) is selling all-inclusive fares of Rs 1,099 and Rs 999.
“The other LCC is offering reward points which is discount equivalent to minimum of 5% of the base fare and is a violation of the current fare bands,” SpiceJet has told the DGCA, while claiming that LCC is offering 100% cashback on flight booking.
“(Monday) offer is for passengers who will get voucher in lieu of the ticket they book with SpiceJet but we have clearly mentioned that discount will be applicable maximum upto Rs 2,000 and will be applicable only on flights where selling fare is more than or equal to Rs 6500. Hence, it’s no way violation of DGCA tariff,” SpiceJet has reportedly told the DGCA.
But given the fare band rules in place, the DGCA has asked SpiceJet to stop ticket sale under the sale announced on Monday.