For a better airport: Fliers to pay development fees till 2021 | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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For a better airport: Fliers to pay development fees till 2021

Air passengers travelling out of the Mumbai and Delhi will continue to pay a fee towards airport development till 2021 though the civil aviation ministry had promised to scrap the charge.

mumbai Updated: Jan 04, 2013 01:54 IST
Soubhik Mitra

Air passengers travelling out of the Mumbai and Delhi will continue to pay a fee towards airport development till 2021 though the civil aviation ministry had promised to scrap the charge.

According to the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) order that came into effect on January 1, now fliers from Mumbai will have to pay Rs. 100 for a domestic flight and Rs. 600 to fly abroad up to April 2021.

At the Delhi airport wherein the modernisation is almost over domestic fliers will continue to spend Rs. 200 while international passengers will spend Rs. 1300 up to April 2016. Airlines have been directed to collect the fee along with the tickets cost and charge a nominal sum to pass it on to airport developers.

Last October the ministry had said that the charges introduced to bridge the financial shortcomings for development of private airport projects might be scrapped from January 1.

Passengers expressed their anger at the plans to retain the fee.

“This is ridiculous. A private company borrows money to build an airport and air passengers are being charged to repay that loan with interest,” said Sudhakar Reddy, national president with the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) a non-profit body formed by air travellers.

Incidentally the ministry’s claim to discontinue the charges came two months after a report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) stated that airport developers burdening passengers with the development cost was not constitutional.

Industry experts said the AERA’s decision is “unfriendly” for passengers because hike in airfares, steady increase in jet fuel costs and increase in service tax has already made air travel expensive since 2011.

“The fee becomes a significant sum for a family of four. The move might discourage people from travelling,” said a Colaba-based travel agent requesting anonymity.

Last month a report by a think tank stated that airfares in India have increased by 30% because most domestic carriers are trying to narrow down their losses.