Now, pay Rs. 600 more for international air tickets as airport upgrade fee
Passengers flying out of Mumbai airport will have to spend more from May 1, as a government authority has permitted the city airport operator to charge a development fee from passengers to make up for the escalation in the cost of modernising the airport.india Updated: Apr 21, 2012 01:48 IST
Passengers flying out of Mumbai airport will have to spend more from May 1, as a government authority has permitted the city airport operator to charge a development fee from passengers to make up for the escalation in the cost of modernising the airport.
According to the order issued by the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), every domestic passenger will be charged Rs100, while international passengers will have to pay Rs 600 per trip. The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the GVK-led private consortium modernising the city airport, can charge the fee till February 2014, the order stated.
Frequent fliers said the move was unfair as the recent increase in service tax and high airfares have already made air travel expensive. “We did not ask the government to engage a private company to modernise the airport. Why should we bear the cost of it?” said Manish Vora, an IT professional who travels by air at least twice a week.
Earlier this year, the Delhi airport was also allowed to levy such a charge. The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) charges Rs 200 on a domestic departures and Rs 1300 for every foreign trip made out of the capital. “Since I frequently travel between Mumbai and Delhi, now my travel expenses would go up significantly,” said Karishma Gandhi, who works in a Goregoan-based movie production house. Travel between both the metros comprises 60% of India’s domestic traffic, making it the sixth busiest air corridor in the world.
Development fee was first introduced in 2009. In April 2011, the Supreme Court stopped MIAL from charging the fee stating that there was no government order permitting it. It then asked the AERA to assess MIAL’s proposal seeking permission to levy such a charge.
According to AERA’s order issued on April 18, the Mumbai airport’s projected development cost has escalated from Rs 9802 crore to Rs 10,453 crore owing to a combination of factors (see box).
The order added that airlines and passenger associations had opposed MIAL’s proposal to levy development fee.