As if inflated ticket prices and cancellations were not enough to hassle the air travellers, the new User Development Fee (UDF), which came into effect at the Indira Gandhi International airport on Tuesday, has further added to their woes.
On the first day, there were many who didn't even know about the new levy. "I din't know about this fee. I thought the prices of air tickets had gone up. I paid R400 extra for my flight to Hyderabad," said VN Kamra, a frequent flier. Other fliers said the hike will pinch them hard as the ticket prices are already going through the roof. "I read about the hike in the papers. The high ticket costs would scare away middle-class fliers, affecting the growth of low-cost airlines," said Rajender Ahuja, an air traveller.
Domestic passengers would have to pay between Rs 200 to Rs 460 as UDF and international passengers will pay Rs 430 to Rs 1,068, depending on the distance to be travelled.
The UDF is being collected by the airlines directly from the passengers. Though the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) had decided to raise airport charges on April 25, airlines operating from Delhi Airport had added UDF into their booking systems by May 3.
Passengers, who had booked their tickets before May 3, would not have to pay UDF. The exemption, however, would only be in effect till June 29.
Apart from UDF, the new airport charges are also coming into effect from May 15. AERA had allowed a raise in airport charges, which are paid by airlines to DIAL, by 346 per cent for two years. Airlines are expected to pass on the burden on the passengers.