Development fee evokes mixed response at Mumbai airport

The proposal to levy an airport development fee on all passengers departing from the Mumbai airport has received a mixed reaction from the commuters.

Written by Shashank Shekhar | Mumbai | Published:March 3, 2009 5:27 am

The proposal to levy an airport development fee (ADF) on all passengers departing from the Mumbai airport has received a mixed reaction from the commuters. The civil aviation ministry recently cleared the proposal made by the private promoters of the Mumbai airport.

A number of passengers (who spoke to Newsline at the airport) said that an ADF of Rs 100 wouldn’t make much of a difference if the money goes into the development of the airport. There were many others who insisted that levying of ADF was just another way of fleecing passengers.

“These people know that when someone has to travel by air,he/she would pay whatever amount they charge,” said Gautam Kapadia (43),a marketing executive from Mumbai. “Earlier,we were all scared of increasing fuel surcharge and now this is another headache,” said Karan Jain,a businessman and a frequent flier.

The ADF at Mumbai airport,which will come into effect from April 1,will be levied for four years and will be due for revision every six months. With this,the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) hopes to raise Rs 2000 crore to fill in the shortfall. However,the ADF at Mumbai airport is less as compared to what other privately promoted airports charge across the country,especially the Greenfield ones. For example,the new airport in Hyderabad charges Rs 375 in the domestic circuit and Rs 1,000 at the international airport.

According to a MIAL spokesperson,not only departing passengers from the airport,but also all transit passengers spending more than six hours at the airport will pay ADF. While the airlines will be collecting the money on behalf of the airport,they would be deducting Rs 5 as handling charges.

“It is a standard procedure at all airports,” said a senior airport official. “You’ve seen the new airports at Bangalore and Hyderabad. We want modern airports but from where will the funds come,” asked Milan Zatakia of Air Passengers Association of India (APAI). “When you use the expressway between Mumbai and Pune you pay a toll. It’s exactly the same at the airport now,” he adds.

While aeronautical charges paid by the airlines,that form 10 per cent of their average operational cost,are standard across all airports in India,incidentally the development fees charged to passengers differ.

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