High fares? Mumbai airport wants transit passengers to pay after 6 hrs

  • Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 01, 2016 02:35 IST
Mumbai airport wants transit passengers to pay airport charges and fees if their connecting flight is within 24 hours of their arrival. (Hindustan Times)

In a move that could increase your airfares, the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) wants the aviation ministry to amend rules that exempt transit passengers from paying user charges and fees if their connecting flight is within 24 hours of their arrival.

In India, a passenger is treated in transit or transfer if the onward travel journey is within 24 hours from arrival at an airport and is part of the same ticket.

At present, transit passengers don’t pay the charges and fees of the particular airport they are transiting from if their connecting flight is within 24 hours of their arrival. MIAL, the GVK-led consortium that operates the Mumbai airport, has asked the ministry to reduce the exempted time to six hours.

Airlines say a change of rules will have a direct impact on fares. “Airport charges and fees like user development fee (UDF), development fee (DF) and passenger service fees (PSF) are included in the ticket cost. Passengers already pay these charges at airports they depart from and arrive at. UDF can be as high as Rs 1270 at some airports,” said an airline official.

“Basically, they want to levy these charges on transit passengers spending more than six hour at Mumbai airport,” said another airline official. MIAL did not offer comments for the story.

Aviation ministry, which is examining the proposal, has asked airlines for their views on the issue.

Arguing that the exemption be restored to six years, as was the case earlier, MIAL has told the ministry that there had been a substantial increase of exempted passengers at Mumbai. “There are 20% exempted passengers against the total departing passengers from Mumbai,” it said in a letter.

“It is imperative that transit passengers should be considered as it was earlier i.e. for less than six hours and such transit passengers should pay same charges, say at least 50%, as is the practice worldwide,” it said.

The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the GMR-led consortium that operates the Delhi airport, has, however, opposed the move to reduce the exempted time. “DIAL does not subscribe to the proposal to reduce the transit time,” it said in a letter to the ministry. DIAL said that reducing the transit time will “create confusion among airlines”. DIAL did not provide comments for the story.

DIAL, however, submitted to the ministry that, “In order to spread the cost across all categories of passengers, we would suggest that transfer and transit passengers…also bear some of the cost of infrastructure usage.”

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