Air travellers’ forums have criticised the move to charge fliers Rs. 346 and Rs. 692 more on domestic and international travel, for using the airport from February 1 as the airport already collects Rs100 and Rs600 from domestic and international travellers respectively against airport development.
The Airports Economic Regulator Authority (AERA) has approved the Mumbai airport operator’s proposal to introduce a user development fee.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the GVK-led private consortium, which operates the city airport, will collect the fee, which can vary each year, up to 2021.
“The charge is unacceptable. Every additional cost incurred owing to flaws in business models are being passed on to passengers,” said Sudhakar Reddy, national president of the Air Passengers’ Association of India (APAI).
Worse, the AERA also approved a 154% increase in landing and parking charges, which aviation experts claimed could result in an increase in airfares.
“Globally every time airport charges such as these are hiked, airlines pass them on to passengers. Therefore a fare hike could be on the cards,” a senior official with an aviation consultancy firm requesting anonymity.
Fliers’ volumes have been dropping owing to an increase in the cost of air travel in 2012.
According to data from the civil aviation ministry, domestic air traffic has been falling for most months since May last year. It fell in May (0.87%), June (3.84%), August (3.7%), September (12.4%), and October (15.7%) compared to the same period in 2011.
November, a peak travel month also saw a drop of 7.28% in air traffic.