Airports most expensive in India

Mumbai, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:54am hrs
Airports in India may not figure in the top-rung list for the services they offer, but they certainly do when it comes to being among the most expensive for airlines. Despite infrastructure constraints, airport charges in Mumbai and Delhi are the highest in Asia. For instance, landing, parking and navigation charges at these airports are around 70% more expensive than at the Changi International Airport in Singapore, one of the best airports in world in terms of quality of service. Most big airports in the world are able to keep charges low and also offer concessions in some instances since a major portion of the airport revenues comes from non-aviation related activities such as shopping arcades and duty free shops. "In India, airports have not been able to fully capitalize on such revenue potential, resulting in higher dependence on aviation related revenues. Non-aeronautical income, including retailing, is only 30% here," according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation's Kapil Kaul. Compared to this, revenues from retail services in Changi and Sydney airports are 58% and 71% respectively.

Airports in major cities abroad act as transit points and can spread their costs over a large number of passengers due to economies of scale. However, Indian airports handle relatively low volume, resulting in higher cost per passenger. Other airports in foreign countries have strong competition among local airports. For instance, in the Pearl River Delta region of China, airports of Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Macau vie for the same passengers.

Air Deccan chief operating officer Warwick Brady said, "The airport charges here are 50% more expensive than in European countries.