No airport development fee for Delhi, Mumbai: Supreme Court (Lead)

April 26th, 2011 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Taking domestic and international flights from the Delhi and Mumbai airports is likely to get cheaper, with the Supreme Court Tuesday striking down the airport development fee (ADF) being charged by private operators.

An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik overruled the ADF, which had been challenged by NGO Consumer Online Foundation.

As a result, tickets are likely to become cheaper by Rs.200 for domestic travellers and Rs.1,300 for international passengers boarding from Delhi. Similarly, tickets from the Mumbai airport are also likely to become cheaper by Rs.100 for domestic and Rs.600 per international passenger.

The apex court, through its judgment, struck down the verdict of the Delhi High Court which had rejected the NGO’s petition challenging the ADF being charged by the private operators of the international airports in these cities.

Meanwhile, Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), the company which operates the Indira Gandhi International Airport here, said that it is yet to receive a copy of the court’s order and will only react after that.

“We are yet awaiting a copy of the order and will be in a position to respond only after perusing the same,” said a DIAL official in a statement.

Similarly, an official from Mumbai International Airport Ltd said they could only comment after studying the judgement.

“Right now, its too early to say anything till we study the judgment. We shall decide the future course of action after that,” the official told IANS.

Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi had said in March that a proposal to review the development fee at Delhi and Mumbai airports has been received.

“The proposal for review of development fee at IGI Airport, New Delhi and CSI Airport Mumbai, has recently been received by AERA (Airports Economic Regulatory Authority),” Ravi had told the Lok Sabha during parliament’s budget session.

He further said that the fee is a pre-funding mechanism for financing mega-airport projects like in Delhi and Mumbai when other options are not available.

Till now, DIAL has collected Rs.1,199 crore in development fee till January 2011 from March 1,2009.

The government had approved the levy of development fee from March 1, 2009, for a period of 36 months, which would be used to bridge the funding gap of Rs.1,827 crore in the development of IGI airport.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) gets 45.99 percent of the gross revenue earned by DIAL.

Interestingly, the fee is collected by all the airlines operating from Delhi and Mumbai from each departing domestic and international passenger. In turn, the airlines get a collection charge of Rs.5 per passenger.

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