Air tickets will be capped between Rs 2,000 and Rs 18,600 in seven bands depending on flight duration for the next three months, the government said on Thursday, as it announced details of resuming domestic air travel after a two-month suspension because of the coronavirus crisis.
Flights under 40 minutes will have a lower and upper limit of Rs 2,000 and Rs 6,000, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
For flights with duration between 40 and 60 minutes, there will be a lower and upper fare limit of Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500, the agency said.
Tickets on flights between 60 and 90 minutes should be priced between Rs 3,000 and 9,000.
Flights between 90 and 120 minutes, like the Delhi-Mumbai route, will have a lower and upper fare limit of Rs 3,500 and Rs 10,000, the DGCA said.
Flights between 120 and 150 minutes, like the Delhi-Bengaluru route, will have a lower and upper fare limit of Rs 4,500 and Rs 13,000.
Flights between 150 and 180 minutes, like the Delhi-Imphal route, will have a lower and upper fare limit of Rs 5,500 and Rs 15,700, the regulator said.
Flights between 180 and 210 minutes, like the Delhi-Coimbatore route, will have a lower and upper limit of Rs 6,500 and Rs 18,600, it added.
Besides the pricing restrictions, protective suits and goggles for flight attendants and no food served on board planes were among the rules proposed by the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday.
After a two-month COVID-19 shutdown, airlines will be allowed to resume flights with about a third of operations from Monday, but on domestic routes only.
The regulations, in effect until August. 24, include full body protective gear for airline crew, temperature checks, face masks and shields for all passengers and the fare band, the ministry said.
The gradual opening up of air travel comes as the number of recorded cases of the novel coronavirus in India crossed 1.12 lakh , the Health Ministry said, increasing by 5,609 from the previous day - one of the highest single-day rises in recent weeks. Deaths stood at 3,435.
Countries around the world are setting rules for flying as coronavirus lockdowns ease in many places.
India's Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters the decision to regulate fares based on the flight's duration was to prevent ticket prices from spiking as there is pent-up demand.
"We are dealing with an extraordinary situation. If you don't fix it, it is entirely conceivable that fares would have sky-rocketed... We have to draw a balance between the requirements of the consumer and the viability of airlines," Mr Puri said.
Airlines are allowed to sell all seats on board, however, 40 per cent of the seats on a flight must be priced less than 50 per cent of the price band, the minister said.
(With inputs from agencies)