Aviation News

Parliamentary panel summons private airlines to discuss rising airfares, Infra News, ET Infra


New Delhi: The Department Related Standing Committee for Transport, Tourism and Culture has on April 5 summoned representatives of various private airlines and the Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) to discuss the vital issue of rising airfares across the country.

“The secretariat has sent an invitation to several private airlines and APAO to discuss this issue of urgent public importance,” an official source told ANI.

Several airlines, including IndiGo, Vistara, GoAir, Air India and SpiceJet are amongst those who have been asked to depose before the panel chaired by YSRCP Rajya Sabha MP Vijaysai Reddy.

“This is a vital issue as it concerns the cause of the common man. The exorbitant airfares on most flights are a concern and therefore the panel will seek the answers and the logic behind it from the concerned authorities,” another source told ANI.

“With the disruption in global supply chains and high fuel prices, it is unlikely that the airlines can lower their fares, despite the huge surge in passengers travelling,” industry experts opine.

UBT Sena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi questioned whether the Government had issued a draft paper suggesting a hike in the prices of landing and parking fees for aircraft by 30 per cent and increasing user development fees by four times.

“This would make flight tickets becoming 30 per cent more expensive and whether Government has assessed the potential impact on commuters?” the question read.

In reply, MoS Civil Aviation Ministry, General Dr VK Singh (Retd) had told Parliament, “The Government of India has set up Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) in 2009, to determine the tariff of aeronautical services at Major airports, the fees to be levied on the passengers and to monitor the set performance standards of the services. As per AERA Act, 2008, as amended from time to time, major airports have been defined as airports which have an annual passenger throughput of more than 3.5 million or any airport or a group of airports notified as such by the Central Government. At present, 27 airports are Major airports under AERA Act, 2008.”

The non-major airports, which are not under the purview of ERA, are required to be regulated by the Government as per the extant provisions under Aircrafts Act. 1934 and Aircraft Rules, 1937, as amended from time to time.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has published a concept paper inviting comments of stakeholders on the proposed principles of tariff regulation for non-major airports.

The concept paper proposes to categorize non-major airports into three clusters for the purpose of tariff determination with an upward revision of the existing tariff at such airports.

The initiative intends to reduce regulatory uncertainties, enable the airport operators to get a reasonable rate of return for the assets deployed by them and also to achieve financial viability of operations and facilitate investment decisions by the non- major airport operators/developers.

The tariff for non-maior airports is to be finalized in consultation with stakeholders.

There has been a huge surge in air fliers domestically in India since November last year.

As per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation domestic air traffic figures, over 1.27 crore people flew in December 2022 and 1.25 crore in January this year.


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