Imagine an incoming fee on air travel the way incoming calls were charged when mobile phones first arrived in India. The airports regulator is in trouble over a similar proposal in its turf.
Passengers landing at the Delhi airport will have to shell out Rs 195-881 from May 15, making Delhi India’s only airport to charge such a fee.
Neither under the Aera Act nor the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Act is Aera authorised to levy a fee on disembarking passengers, ministry sources said. The AAI Act makes it very clear that development fees would be charged only from “embarking passengers”.
Development fees is not defined under the Aera Act. Section 13(b) of Act says the regulator will “determine the amount of the development fees in respect of major airports”. Section 2(P) of the same Act says that “words and expressions used but not defined” in the Aera Act and “defined in the AAI Act shall have the same meaning”.
This is where Section 22A of the AAI Act becomes important. It says, “The Authority may after the previous approval of the central government in this behalf, levy on, and collect from the embarking passengers at an airport, the development fees at the rate as may be prescribed…”
“Aera has gone in the process of tariff determination in accordance with what it considers to be in consonance with legal provisions,” Aera chief Yashwant Bhave told HT.