Chinese consumer-right groups and law scholars have urged authorities to investigate collective price hikes by major airlines, which they suspect to be a violation of the Anti-monopoly Law.
The Beijing Consumers Association, the Beijing Consumer Protection Law Society, the Beijing society on industry and business administration and the civil and commercial laws research center under the Beijing-based Renmin University expressed their concern over the controversial price hikes in a joint statement.
The pricing system approved by the civil aviation authority Monday allowed airliners to raise ticket price after designating discounts based on the government’s benchmark price.
Chinese internet users made an outcry after the pricing was approved. A surfer on sina.com, whose online name is andongyanxiu, wrote: ‘We are still seeing discounted air tickets, but they are fake.’
China Daily had a reader raise the example of a flight from Beijing to Shanghai. The full ticket price for the route is RMB1,130. Passengers used to get 50% off for RMB565. With the new pricing system, the price for a 50% discount ticket is RMB679.
No one is suggesting that airlines are making a profit even though domestic passengers volume increased by 17.9% in the first quarter over the same period of last year, according to the Civil Aviation Administration.
The government has injected billions of renminbiinto carriers and exempted them from a tax on fuel discharges to help them weather the tough economic times.
Consumers suspect the collective price hikes were made by airline companies to make up for their losses.
Consumers are probably right in this.
What, one wonders, did they expect?