Dubai: India’s national carrier Air India has steeply hiked fares for its stretcher services with effect from July 20, Gulf News has learnt.
As per an internal circular issued by Air India in New Delhi, a copy of which is available with Gulf News, the airline will now calculate the international stretcher fares based on the IATA YIF fares, the costliest category, hitting hard on the patients requiring the service.
According to aviation experts, the YIF category fares issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are far higher than the normal business class fares issued by carriers.
The circular stated that the international stretcher fares will be calculated as five times an adult passenger’s IATA YIF fares plus one time other taxes. This is applicable to all types of passenger aircraft, whether narrow-body or wide-body.
As the circular dated July 20 states that the decision has to be implemented with immediate effect, this will be the new air fare calculation applicable for repatriation of patients from the UAE requiring stretcher service.
According to sources, the stretcher fares from the UAE were earlier calculated on the K and other mid-range categories of carrier-issued fares depending on the availability of seats.
Previously, the airline used to calculate the stretcher fares as six times the K class fare plus one time other taxes, sources said.
They said the revision in fares will see huge increase in expenses for flying home stretcher-bound patients.
Usually a minimum of four seats are reserved for carrying a patient on a stretcher.
Though Air India sends stretchers from India, the circular stated that stretchers should be booked on one-way fare only.
The airline has revised the stretcher charges on its domestic services in India as well. It will now be calculated as four times the Y class fare plus one time other taxes. Y class fare is the highest economy class market fare.
This fare is likely to be applicable to patients from the UAE if they are transferred to any domestic connection flight if there is no direct flight to their destination from the UAE.
The circular carrying a table of the stretcher tariff in both Domestic/SAARC Sector and International Sector adds that the revised charges are only for air transportation of stretcher passengers on Air India flights.
“Pre-departure and post-arrival or any third party charges will be additional and borne by passenger.”
The circular has also specified the additional charges for cancellation, no-show and other changes made to the ticket such as date or flight modification.