Air India
Air IndiaReuters

Passengers who end up with unconfirmed tickets for Rajdhani Express could soon be given the option to fly to their destination by just paying the fare difference of the tickets.

The proposal was pushed by the Chairman of the Indian Railway Board Ashwani Lohani last summer when he was Chairman and Managing Director of Air India (AI).

The railways, however, had not reacted positively to his proposal then, but considering his current position as head of the Railway Boad, Lohani has said he will give the plan a go if Air India proposes it again.

"If AI approaches us with this proposal, we will accept it," Lohani told Times of India.

Reports state that the swapping of modes of transportation will only apply to passengers with unconfirmed tickets of AC-I or AC-II.

Due to a severe demand-supply crunch in the railways, every day a large number of people end up with their tickets not being confirmed.

Lohani, in a bid to increase Air India's aircraft occupancy, had planned that the contact details of the passengers with unconfirmed tickets be automatically shared with Air India, which could then offer them seats to the same destinations at lucrative rates.

"AC-II Rajdhani fares are more or less similar to airfares," Lohani said.

Indian Railways-Rajdhani
Indian Railways-RajdhaniWikimedia Commons

"A benefit of having a government-owned airline... (is that) railways can transfer its unconfirmed premium passengers to state-owned AI. Lohani's idea is very good. But can railways do the same with a private AI or any other private airline without facing charges of benefitting them?" an Air India insider was quoted by TOI as asking?

Senior IAS officer Rajiv Bansal, who is currently Air India's chairman, has said he would not be able to immediately provide a comment on the proposal made.

"This is the first time I am hearing of such a thing. There is difference in train and air fares...," Bansal said.