Sunday, May 19, 2013

Opinion-DGCA- Please bring some Focus into Unbundling

Neelam Mathews
May 19, 2013
There is an increasing realization on how the DGCA casually announced the unbundling- the newest word added to aviation parlance in India.Don't get me wrong. While I'm the first to support openness and transparency in the aviation sector, there are some concerns and we hope the DGCA is listening and, not just partially, like the BCCI! 
Why, for instance, was the regulator in such a hurry? A date could have been indicated when the new system would start to ensure passengers, ie. consumers (yes they still exist!), could be given a chance to understand how it works for them. There is utter confusion in the market today.
We think- given the comparitively new aviation business in India- DGCA could have set some guidelines for the unbundling, a word more misunderstood that most issues today. For instance, are the emergency seats on sale? If they are, that's a big safety issue. What if a disabled person is allotted the exit seats? Not the best place to be in an emergency! Middle seats on sale! There's got to be some sanity.
All we're saying is that airlines cannot be blamed as they need to get the best of a mediocre situation. Guess that's why the regulator is needed without throttling the issue. 
Minister Ajit Singh recently said airlines were asked to sell a "few" seats. What's sauce for the goose may not be palatable to the gander. Somewhere in this equation, subtle rules need to be laid out. After all, the government is for the service of the people. Or, is it?

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