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Scamster makes 389% profit margin selling official travel tickets to Members of Parliament

by Devesh Agarwal

A ticket bought for Rs. 17,270 was sold to the Rajya Sabha secretariat for Rs. 67,270, a 389% mark-up!!

We regularly hear either the Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr. Ajit Singh, or the Director General of Civil Aviation, Mr. Mishra, calling for airlines to curb their fares and not indulge in price gouging.

One has to wonder what will be their reaction to this news report by Saurabh Sinha in the Times of India. The Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian parliament) secretariat was informed of a potential scam when a RS Member of Parliament (MP) found some extreme prices on his air ticket and lodged a formal complaint.

The secretariat paid Rs 99,292 for a one-way Delhi-Chennai flight on Jet Airways for Ashk Ali Tak, a Congress RS member from Rajasthan. A Chennai-Hyderabad ticket on Air India was bought for Rs 35,184. A Hyderabad-Bangalore journey on Jet and a Bangalore-Jaipur ticket on low cost IndiGo ‘cost’ Rs 67,270 and Rs 17,270, respectively.

The DGCA, on investigating with the various airlines, found

“Jet Airways said it got Rs 39,292 from the agent for the Delhi-Chennai ticket which was sold to the RS Secretariat by the latter for a whopping for Rs 99,292; and Rs 17,270 for the Hyderabad-Bangalore ticket that was ‘bought’ for Rs 67,270. AI said it got Rs 4,484 for the Chennai-Hyderabad ticket which was bought for Rs 35,184. IndiGo said it got Rs 8,910 for the Bangalore-Jaipur ticket that was bought for Rs 38,410,”

A 300% mark-up!!! on business class fares? All on the tax-payers’ Rupees??

Why is the Government going to private ticket agents, when it has a fully owned and well functioning on-line travel agent (OTA) called Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which also sells flight tickets?

And while we are on the question of fares, why is the RS MP flying Business Class on yours and my Rupees? That too at a time of the government raising prices and taxes to improve its collections?

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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