The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has penalized three of the country’s airlines for what it says was concerted action in fixing and revising fuel surcharge (FSC), a component of freight charges.

The CCI issued its final order March 7 following an investigation after complaints that airlines were operating a cartel.

The heaviest penalty, of Rs39.81 crore ($6.1 million) was imposed on Jet Airways; fines of Rs9.45 crore and Rs5.10 crore were levied on InterGlobe Aviation and SpiceJet respectively.

The CCI said it had based the penalties on the revenue generated by the airlines from only their air cargo transport services.

“Considering the financial position of airlines at the relevant time and noting that FSC constitutes about 20-30% of cargo revenue, [the] penalty was imposed by the commission at 3% of their average relevant turnover of the last three financial years,” the CCI said.

The CCI said it had served “cease and desist” orders against the three airlines and that it deprecated the airlines’ use of FSC as a pricing tool.

Alan Dron