The ministry of civil aviation has made a proposal to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet to extend the tenure of the current bench of AERAAT (Airport Economic Regulatory Authority Apellate Tribunal) by a year — till March 2018 — for quick resolution of the issues regarding the decrease in tariff at the Delhi International Airport (DIAL). This is pursuant to the Supreme Court asking AERAAT to decide on the appeals against the tariff orders of Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) as expeditiously as possible, preferably within two months.
Air India, while moving the apex court seeking implementation of the reduced tariff for the second control period at DIAL, had raised the issue with regard to the tenure of the current bench of AERAAT expiring on March 8. The SC has now kept the matter for further hearing on April 24. In May 2016, the Supreme Court had asked AERA to decide on the matter within three months by August 2016. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar appeared for Air India while senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented DIAL.
The tenure of the current bench of AERAAT will come to an end by March 8 this year and while hearing the matter on February 23, the appellate tribunal asked for an assurance from the civil aviation ministry for extending the term till the appeal is disposed of.
Air India has mentioned in the SLP that DIAL is currently recovering R300 crore approximately per month and if permitted to carry on would by the end of the second control period make a total collection of R17,157.15 crore against a target revenue of R7,709.61 crore.
“We are expecting the matter to be decided within the next two months since the apex court has now directed AERAAT. Also, the tribunal has asked for an extension till the tariff issue is resolved and the MoCA has made a proposal for the same to the ACC. This is a significant development and we are expecting tariff to come within the first half of this year,” an Air India official said.
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The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority in a fresh application filed before the reconstituted bench of AERAAT on November 30 mentioned that an excess collection could hit R9,447 crore if the charges are not revised downwards. In December 2015, AERA ruled for a 90% reduction in the airport charges in DIAL but the matter was challenged by them in the Delhi High Court. AERA then appealed in the Supreme Court and the matter was referred to the appellate tribunal to decide within three months which ended in August 2016.