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Yes, airlines have increased cancellation charges: Sharma

An analysis has showed that there has been an increase in cancellation charges for air tickets, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Thursday while emphasising that airfares are not regulated by the government. In a written reply to Lok Sabha, he said cancellation charges are not fixed and varies from Rs 1,500 to 100 per cent fare of the ticket depending upon the class, price level and time before departure.

"Analysis on the increase of the cancellation charge was carried out and it was found that there was increase in cancellation charges. Cancellation charges are not fixed," Sharma said. The Minister of State for Civil Aviation was responding to a query on whether the ministry has taken note of steep hike in cancellation charges by airlines. 

However, he did not provide details on whether aviation regulator DGCA has taken any action on the matter. "Airfares are not regulated by the government.  With the repeal of Air Corporation Act in March 1994, the provision of fare approval was dispensed with by the government, including charges for cancellation," Sharma said. In recent times, many local carriers have increased the charges for cancellation of air tickets. 

'No proposal with DGCA for allowing commercial use of drones'
There is no proposal at present with aviation regulator DGCA for allowing commercial use of drones in the country, government said on Thursday. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has recently put out draft guidelines for obtaining Unique Identificiation Number (UIN) for operations of civil drones and unmanned aircraft system, after consultations with various stakeholders including the security agencies. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma informed the Lok Sabha that civil use of drones by non-government agencies, organisations or individuals is restricted. This is being done to "regulate unwarranted use of drones and for the safety of manned aircraft/ air space and personnel until regulations for drones are in place," he said in a written reply. 

To a query on whether the government proposes to allow commercial use of drones in any part of the country on pilot basis, Sharma said, "currently, there is no such proposal with DGCA". For using drones, government organisations have to get a no-objection certificate from the DGCA. As per the draft guidelines issued last month, DGCA would register all civil unmanned aircraft and issue an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) on a case-to-case basis. Currently, aircraft rules do not cover use of drones as well as their sale and purchase. Meanwhile, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has not yet issued standards and recommended practices for certification and operation of civil drones. 
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