Airlines opposed to development fee charged by airports

Joining global airlines body International Air Transport Association in criticising the government’s move to impose a development fee....

Written by Smita Aggarwal | New Delhi | Published:March 3, 2009 1:47 am

Joining global airlines body International Air Transport Association in criticising the government’s move to impose a development fee at key metro airports are all the country’s domestic carriers.

In a letter to the civil aviation ministry last month,the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) — the apex association of airline companies — has opposed the government’s proposed move to allow private airport operators to levy a development fee on outbound passengers from the Delhi and Mumbai airports.

Delhi International Airport Ltd,the company modernising the Capital’s airport,has already started collecting Rs 200 and Rs 1,300 from domestic and international passengers respectively,as development fee from March 1. Recently,the Centre also allowed Mumbai Airport to charge Rs 100 and Rs 600 from outbound domestic and international passengers.

The FIA argued that charging development fee puts additional burden on the customer. It said the Centre should consult airlines before allowing such charges. When contacted,FIA secretary-general Anil Baijal confirmed the development and added that such a move burdens the air traveller.

Stating that a development fee was “unfair” to passengers,the IATA said,“The ADF for Delhi airport,and the proposed ADF for Mumbai airport,are essentially charges to pre-finance airport development projects. Pre-financing increases the costs of air travel when passengers are made to pay for facilities that are not yet in use.”

For struggling airlines,development fee poses an additional problem as the government has asked them to collect it at the time of booking of tickets. “With additional charges like passenger service fee,congestion charge,fuel surcharge and development fee,it seems that these will add up to more than the actual cost of flying between two cities. Airport operators have also increased airport fees by 10 per cent,something we have not passed on to passengers. We are locked in a difficult place,” said an airline chief,on condition of anonymity. However,the government has now decided that Rs 5 per passenger will be passed on to airlines as development fee collection fee at the Delhi airport.

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