Close to four months after the Mumbai airport approached the economic regulator over penalties charged against extended parking, private jet owners received temporary relief on Friday when the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) stayed the city airport operator’s move till January 4.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the GVK-led private consortium modernising the city airport, had levied penalties on outstation private jets for extended use of parking bays. The move was primarily aimed to de-congest parking space at the land-locked airport, but the revised rates sparked off unanimous protest from corporate houses that own private jets.
“This has come as a big relief for the general aviation sector which is already struggling in these tough economic conditions”, said Rohit Kapur, president of the Business Airports Operators Association (BAOA), the body that challenged the hike at the AERA’s appellate tribunal.
According to the BAOA, MIAL unilaterally began charging between Rs1,000 to Rs15,000 depending on the weight of the aircraft and the number of extra hours it used the parking bays.
The association had alleged that MIAL had levied the charges even as discussions were on over the issue and an approval was awaited from the regulator.
According to the association, the airport operator had done little to augment facilities for private aircraft operators, which had curbed the growth of the general aviation sector.
Sources claimed that MIAL did not wait for the approval because it was a penalty and not an increase in charges. “Approval is required in order to hike charges,” said an airport official requesting anonymity. The MIAL spokesperson was not available for comment.