Guwahati: When despite reducing the VAT on aviation turbine fuel in Tripura, the airlines operating in the state are not ready to lower its fares and make air transportation easy and affordable to the general fliers, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb thinks of putting a cap on the airlines that are providing service in the state.
Seeking a restriction on the sky-rocketing price of airfares fixed by the airlines, CM has even written to Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu looking for an adequate solution to the burning issue in Tripura at present. Deb, in his letter to the Union minister, has clearly stated that the airlines including Air India are exploiting air passengers.
Deb, in the letter, has written, “There is a sharp increase in airfares. The airfare from Agartala to Kolkata used to be around Rs. 2,000 earlier, which has now shot up to Rs. 13,000 to Rs. 15,000. In fact, on many occasions, tickets were not available at any price. As a result, even serious patients are not able to move out of Tripura. All the airlines, including Air India, are exploiting the common people of Tripura.”
Further, the Tripura CM mentioned the Civil Aviation Ministry’s Route Dispersal Policy (RDP) revision in 2014 and 2016, according to which, the airlines have a mandatory obligation to operate 10 percent of their capacity to remote locations including Northeastern states. On that ground, it is totally baseless for the airlines to show such an outlook while providing service in Tripura.
It all started since September when SpiceJet Airlines first pulled out its service from Agartala’s Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Airport. With this, the airport now has eight IndiGo aircraft and three Air India aircraft flying on a daily basis. Among other airlines, one Air India aircraft is reserved for the Army, para-military and other emergency services.
Before this as well, Deb had written to the central government in the month of October. It was in that letter as well, he mentioned that IndiGo Airlines was enjoying a “monopolistic situation” at Agartala due to the withdrawal of operations by SpiceJet.