Fliers from Mumbai have reason to cheer after the Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed the development fee charged by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) on the basis of a March 2009 government order.
This means international and domestic flights from Mumbai will get a little cheaper.
A bench of justice RV Raveendran and justice AK Patnaik said MIAL could not charge Rs 100 from domestic passengers and Rs 600 from international ones under the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994.
MIAL was directed not to charge the development fee as there was no such notice under the 2008 permitting it to do so.
Though the court said the regulator under the 2008 act could notify the development fees to be charged by MIAL, it added the money collected under the orders would be credited to the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The bench added only AAI could utilise the amount collected as development fee.
With regard to the development fee charged by MIAL, the court said the AAI would ensure that the fee collected had been utilised as per the law.
Under the 1994 Act, a development fee was collected for development of airports, establishment or development of a new airport in lieu of the existing airport or investment in equity in respect of shares to be subscribed by the AAI in companies engaged in establishing, owning, developing, operating or maintaining a private airport.
Though the court has given a similar ruling for Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and said the lessee should not have charged the development fees from the passengers under the 1994 Act, it said DIAL could levy the fees under the amended Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
DIAL will continue charging Rs 200 from domestic passengers and Rs 1,300 from international passengers under the public notice issued by the Regulatory Authority on April 23, 2010.