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CCI closes case against airlines on fare spike during 2016 Jat stir; finds no price parallelism

By PTI

NEW DELHI: After a detailed probe that also analysed data of 338 flights, the Competition Commission has closed a case of alleged cartelisation among four Indian carriers with respect to air ticket prices on certain routes during the Jat agitation in 2016.

The fair trade regulator began looking into the matter after receiving a complaint that air fares on certain routes had skyrocketed during the Jat agitation in February 2016.

Subsequently, a detailed investigation was carried out by the watchdog’s Director General (DG) against IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India and Go Air (now rebranded as Go First).

Jet Airways was excluded from the investigation purview as it had shuttered operations in April 2019 and went into insolvency proceedings.

“There is no evidence on record to establish cartel amongst the airlines during the period of Jat agitation, i.e.18th to 23rd February 2016 and having examined the material on record, the Commission finds no reason to differ with the findings recorded by the DG,” Competition Commission of India (CCI) said in a 15-page order.

As per the DG’s investigation report, the analysis of the information submitted by the four airlines did not reveal any uniformity or specific trend with respect to opening of buckets by them.

“It is noticed from the DG report that the DG analysed aviation data of 338 flights to detect any pattern in pricing indicative of price parallelism and collusive behaviour.

“The investigation analysed the total revenue generated by each of the airline, average price per ticket, the dates of booking, the number of buckets used and the number of seats sold/ unsold for six sectors viz.

Delhi-Amritsar, Amritsar-Delhi, Delhi-Jaipur, Jaipur-Delhi, Delhi-Chandigarh, and Chandigarh-Delhi during the relevant period,” the order said.

During the period, it was noticed that all the six sectors witnessed high demand for air tickets due to onset of Jat agitation.

“Though, all the four airlines sold…

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