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Delhi HC quashes Centre’s price fixation circular for excess air baggage beyond 15 kg

LiveMint logoLiveMint 16-08-2017 Priyanka Mittal

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday set aside the Centre’s circular seeking to regulate the prices airlines charge for excess baggage. The Centre had fixed the price at Rs100 per kg chargeable in excess of 15 kg.

The court ruling means private airlines would not be bound by a fixed price and can go back to charging prices ranging from Rs250-350 per kg for excess baggage beyond 15 kg as they had been doing earlier.

At present, all domestic airlines allow free checked-in baggage of up to 15 kg with the exception of Air India, which allows 22 kg.

The high court was hearing a challenge by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), a lobby group.

On 1 July, 2016, the Centre had issued a circular on the basis of which airlines had been asked to charge Rs100 per kg for baggage in excess of 15 kg. The circular came into effect immediately and was not stayed by the court.

“Under Section 5A of the Aircraft Act, 1934, the Centre has power to issue directions with regards to regulating tariffs passed by individual airlines. Also, under various circulars issued by the Centre from time to time, they can interfere if they find airlines indulging in predatory or oligopolistic practices,”, P.S. Patwalia, additional solicitor general, had argued on behalf of the Centre.

FIA, in its plea, contended that the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) did not have the powers to fix a uniform price and sought quashing of the price fixation circular.

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