Sky-high airport fees choking aviation: IATA chief

Press Trust of India Posted online: Monday, Dec 30, 2013 at 0000 hrs
Mumbai : Increasingly expensive airports and poor infrastructure are acting as deterrents to the growth of the civil aviation sector in India, global airlines body IATA has said.

“India's airports are becoming increasingly expensive. We have seen a 346% increase in charges at Delhi, 164% increase in aeronautical charges in Mumbai, 219% in Kolkata, and a 269% hike in Chennai,” IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said at his Geneva headquarters recently.

“But we have had some victories. They have rolled back some charges in Delhi," the International Air Transport Association chief said. Stating that the poor infrastructure and high taxes work as a deterrent to the development of the aviation sector, he said aviation is a huge economic enabler of growth.

"Look at Mumbai, which is probably the most important commercial centre of the country. Frankly, its airport is inadequate. We have been talking about the Navi Mumbai airport for years, but where is the progress on that?” he asked.

High taxes on jet fuel, which go up as high as 40% in some states, coupled with higher airport charges in the form of user-development and airport development fees jack up air fares. These have had a negative impact on passenger demand in the country.

Pointing out that sectoral regulator Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has been doing a good job, he said: “I think, within the scope of its authority, the AERA has been as tough as it could be. But the system of regulation leaves something to be desired.”