HC refuses to stay DGCA order on lower excess baggage fee
As per the new regulation to be implemented from July 1, the airlines would now charge Rs 100 per extra kg till 20 kg instead of the current rate of Rs 300. At present, all domestic airlines allow free checked-in baggage up to 15 kgs. Beyond that limit, the charge is Rs 300 per extra kg. Only Air India allows free baggage up to 23 kg.
A vacation bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao turned down the request made by Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which has Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir as its members, saying the issue before it required consideration and the authorities have to be heard on merit. The court issued notice to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asking them to file their reply by July 2.
It, however, fixed the matter for July 8 while declining FIA's request to at least defer the date of implementation of the circular till next date of hearing on the grounds that it may create chaos among passengers putting them in difficulty.
The court said the charge will be restored, if the FIA succeeded. FIA questioned the power of the DGCA, saying it did not have jurisdiction to issue such a circular and the amount of Rs 100 per kg fixed, should be according to the destination.
The Ministry's counsel opposed the FIA's contention saying the circular is only applicable to domestic airlines. The counsel said the rates were being regulated keeping in mind the harassment suffered by the passengers at the hands of the airlines.
"Airlines have been asked to keep variable checked-in baggage fare between 15-20 kg to benefit passengers who carry checked-in baggage in excess of 15 kg but less than 20 kg," DGCA's counsel told the court.
As per the DGCA, airlines will be free to charge any fee on the baggage beyond 20 kg. The reduced rates, which were to become effective from June 15, will now come into force from July 1, as airlines had sought more time to upgrade their system.