The government should establish a regulatory body to address the grievances of airline passengers, similar to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)- which works towards protecting the interests of telecom consumers.
This is what MK Raghavan, Congress MP in the Lok Sabha from Kozhikode, has proposed in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Raghavan wrote in his letter dated January 17,
"Today, there is no regulatory or any other type of authority, like the TRAI, to vet grievances of the air travellers, etc. Most of the existing guidelines and rules are pro-airlines and the passengers are at the receiving end. Therefore, public dissatisfaction among air travellers is on the increase."
Speaking about low-cost airlines, he said, "Most of the private players, terming themselves as low-cost airlines, are having charges at par with Air India, etc., but do not provide any additional facility as available to Air India passengers… In fact, when they are termed as low-cost airlines, they should be low-cost in the real sense."
Such a regulatory body, he explained, will have the power to impose fines or initiate action against airline operators who violate rules resulting in anti-consumer behaviour. From delay in refunds to not fulfilling the services promised and huge hikes in fares, these are among the several complaints made by consumers against airlines, he said.
Currently it is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that works to address the complaints of air passengers and also regulates cancellation charges imposed by several airlines, the report added.
India's domestic air passenger traffic zoomed by 23.18 per cent in 2016 to 998.88 lakh, official data released recently showed.
"Passengers carried by domestic airlines in 2016 were 998.88 lakh as against 810.91 lakh during the previous year, registering a growth of 23.18 per cent," the DGCA said in its statistical analysis.
The data also disclosed that a total of 907 passenger-related complaints were received in December.
(With IANS inputs)