Expressing deep disappointment at last month’s hike in air navigation charges at Indian airports, global airlines body IATA has urged the Indian government to defer their implementation on the grounds of a total lack of consultations with concerned stakeholders.
“IATA and its member airlines are deeply disappointed by the complete lack of user-consultation and transparency before arriving at this proposal,” the International Air Transport Association has said in a letter to the Civil Aviation Ministry.
“This is particularly surprising given that significant conversations with AAI (Airports Authority of India) had indicated that full and thorough consultation with stakeholders would be undertaken prior to any such changes,” it said.
The charges for air navigation services at all airports as well as for airport services at non-major airports, which are defined as those serving less than 12 lakh passengers annually, have been revised with effect from December 16, 2016.
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The IATA has requested that the “implementation of these increases is deferred indefinitely and that the relevant agencies enter meaningful negotiation with affected stakeholders.”
It said fees and charges can only be set realistically and aligned to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) guidelines through a detailed and structured cost assessment process involving consultation with all affected stakeholders.
“This must be a robust process in order to reach consensus between the service provider and airlines as business partners. IATA believes that at least a four-month notice of revision should be given to airlines and their representative organisations,” the letter said.
Increases in charges without proper consultation has the potential to rapidly erode competitive advantage and potentially jeopardise growth prospects of the Indian tourism industry as well as the country’s economy, the letter added.
The letter from the IATA Regional Director (Safety and Flight Operations) for Asia-Pacific said that airport and air navigation service charges must be in line with ICAO tenets.