A new cess of Rs. 40-50 could be imposed on flyers to create a Rs. 400-crore Essential Services Fund (ESF), to be used to increase connectivity to 90 small airports across India.
The proposal was discussed at a high-level meeting at the aviation ministry chaired by aviation minister Ajit Singh, which had former Cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra and HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh as special invitees.
There was some opposition to the levying of a fresh cess as it would put extra burden on passengers, sources said. “There was also a view to bring down airport charges at small regional airports to zero per cent but that wouldn’t be of much help as it would bring down the operational cost of airlines by only 9%,” an official said.
“Other proposals discussed were auctioning of routes among airlines and setting up for no-frills airports," he added.