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Rajya Sabha member flags concerns over high airfares on Gulf, other routes

Currently, flights are being operated by airlines to and from India under various bilateral air bubble agreements since commercial international air services remain suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the minister, Kumar has flagged concerns about "undue exploitation" of Gulf passengers by airline companies charging very high fares under the COVID-19 situation.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 19-10-2020 20:48 IST | Created: 19-10-2020 20:30 IST
Rajya Sabha member flags concerns over high airfares on Gulf, other routes
Representative image. Image Credit: ANI

Rajya Sabha member M V Shreyams Kumar has urged Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to immediately look into the issue of various airlines charging high fares from passengers travelling to Gulf countries. Currently, flights are being operated by airlines to and from India under various bilateral air bubble agreements since commercial international air services remain suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the minister, Kumar has flagged concerns about "undue exploitation" of Gulf passengers by airline companies charging very high fares under the COVID-19 situation. People who returned to India during Vande Bharat operation have started going back to Gulf countries to protect their jobs and business there, he added.

Citing flights to Bahrain from Calicut in Kerala, Kumar said higher ticket prices are being charged now compared to the pre-COVID-19 period. He also claimed that Gulf passengers are being charged at the same level for flights from three other airports in the state. India has an air travel arrangement with Bahrain that allows Air India/Air India Express and Gulf Air to operate flights between the two countries.

Kumar, who is a leader of the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), noted that there were eight services from Calicut to Bahrain and the number is only five now. As there are reduced number of flights, tickets are not available till December and many people face the threat of losing their jobs unless they reach that country on time. Their visas are going to expire and many of them were served reminders by their employers to join duty as per their job demands, he noted.

Kumar also flagged concerns about rise in airfares and fewer flights to various Gulf, European and Asian countries. Seeking immediate intervention of the minister, the Rajya Sabha member said there should be enough air services for people going back for work to other countries, adding that it will be possible only by amending air bubble agreements.


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