Soon, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) will start keeping a tab on all big airports across the country. AERA will make sure that all the major airports are meeting the promised service standards in terms of maximum time taken for various processes such as security check, check-in and immigration, according to a TOI report. AERA, which fixes tariffs for big airports of the country, that cater to more than 15 lakh passengers a year, will link meeting of service standards to tariff determination. Additionally, the authority will penalize laggard airports and it will reward the ones that excel at the same time.
The authority is concerned by the fact that during peak travel hours, most of the Indian airports are severely congested and resemble overcrowded railway stations of the country. As air travel exploded in the last few years, both the state-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) as well as the private metro airport operators have failed to improve the infrastructure. As a matter of fact, serpentine queues- right from terminal entry to the security check, check-in and immigration, are not an uncommon sight anymore as all the big airports these days are mostly congested.
AERA Chairman S Machendranathan was quoted in the report saying that there are set service standards for airports. In order to measure the actual conditions at the airports vis-a-visa the standards, the authority is going to appoint consultants, the Chairman said. Further to this, Machendranathan added that the authority will link the meeting of standards to tariff determination and the airports which do not meet the same, will be penalized.
The statutory functions of the AERA are to determine tariff for the aeronautical services, development fees and passengers service fee. Also, AERA is responsible to maintain the set performance standards. Apart from these, the authority is also responsible to perform other functions relating to the tariff.