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Government plans analytics tool for airfare trends

PTI | New Delhi |

The government plans to have an analytics tool that will provide future airfare trends in a transparent manner for passengers.

The proposal is part of the Civil Aviation Ministry's efforts to ensure paperless and seamless air travel for the Indian aviation market, which is projected to be the world's third largest by 2022.

The ambitious 'DigiYatra' initiative — whose initial contours were unveiled today — seeks to provide airline travellers a "digitally unified flying experience" across all stages of their journey.

During discussions between Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha and industry stakeholders, the idea of having airfare trends analytics for passengers also came up.

According to a source privy to today's meeting, such an analytics tool would first require a reservoir of data collected from airlines, airports and travel portals.

Historical data thus gathered can help identify fare trends which can be made public, the source added.

Apart from enabling passengers to make an informed decision while planning their travel, the ministry is keen to have analytics for airfare trends to ensure more transparency, the source said.

Steep fluctuations in air ticket prices have been a matter of debate in various quarters and some time back there were suggestions to cap the fares.

Airlines follow a dynamic pricing mechanism for the tickets that is mainly dependent on demand trends.

Having an analytics system would help passengers to have an understanding of possible peaks and troughs over a longer time period.

Currently, many travel portals provide information on future airfare trends.

While the idea of having an analytics system for airfares is still at an early stage, Sinha acknowledged that there are concerns from airlines over sharing data about passengers who fly with them.

"Airlines are concerned about data sharing and data protection. But we will do this in a collaborative manner," Sinha said at a press briefing.

The ministry has also constituted a technical committee which would come out with a white paper on providing a digital experience to passengers.