The war over air fares intensified on Wednesday with all Indian airlines competing with each other to offer low ticket prices, as Air India also jumped into the fray.
A day after Jet Airways offered 20 lakh seats at Rs 2,250 for travel till the year-end and all no-frill carriers -- IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir followed suit, Air India today evening launched special fares offering a discount of up to 40 per cent on one-way regular fare charged by it on its domestic flights.
While official sources said the lowest fares had so far not breached the lowest rates given by the airlines to aviation regulator DGCA, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, "We are not going to prescribe anything (fares). If we fix a lower bracket and the airlines charge lower than that, the issue will go to the competition council."
Maintaining that the government would not regulate fares, Singh said a cell to monitor the fares was being set up in the Ministry and not to regulate them. "Whatever needs to be done will be done in consultation with the airlines."
Travel portals showed that Air India was offering the lowest fares on most of the major sectors.
On the Delhi-Mumbai route, an economy class one-way ticket for mid-April was priced at Rs 3,201 by Air India, Rs 3,340 by IndiGo, Rs 3,350 by Jet Airways and Rs 4,426 by SpiceJet.
The Delhi-Chennai sector saw an Air India ticket costing Rs 3,701, IndiGo's being Rs 3,840, Jet Airways' Rs 3,850, Jet Konnect's Rs 4,008 and SpiceJet's at Rs 4,714.
A ticket on Delhi-Kolkata route cost Rs 3,201 for Air India, Rs 3,241 for IndiGo, Rs 4,662 for SpiceJet and Rs 4,663 for Jet Konnect. Similarly on the Delhi-Hyderabad, Air India's ticket was priced at Rs 3,201, IndiGo's Rs 3,290, Jet's Rs 3,350 and SpiceJet's Rs 4,641.