The Supreme Court on Friday termed the levying of the airport development fee (ADF) on passengers at the domestic and international airport a “little unreasonable”. Instead, it advised that charges be imposed on VIPs to use the facility of special lounges.
“Why burden the common travellers? You are being unreasonable with passengers. At many airports (abroad), a huge amount of fee is charged for VIP rooms. In London, they charge 400 pounds per passenger for a small room in VIP lounge, why can’t you reciprocate here,” said a bench of Justice DK Jain and Justice Madan B Lokur.
The court’s remarks came during the hearing of a petition by an NGO, Consumer Online Foundation, challenging the levying of ADF of R200 and R1,300 per embarking domestic and international passenger at the Indira Gandhi International Airport for 18 months — from December 1, 2011 to May 2013.
“Are we so weak? Instead of burdening our passengers, can we also not charge such fees, particularly in the peak seasons such as June, when VIP travellers are visiting from foreign (countries). If we have to pay in pounds in London, why can’t they pay in rupees here. Our airports are excellent as compared to many of them,” the court said, issuing a notice to the Centre for its response on the NGO’s petition.
The bench said there was an “innocuous doubt” that the development fee had been charged for the future and perhaps “DIAL has stepped into the shoes of the Airport Authority of India (AAI)”.