No user fee for domestic fliers at new Hyderabad airport

March 3rd, 2008 - 5:33 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Hyderabad, March 3 (IANS) The city’s new international airport, scheduled to start commercial operations March 16, Monday announced that it would not levy user development fees (UDF) from domestic passengers. The airport developers, however, will collect $25 as UDF from each departing international passenger.

A final decision on collecting UDF from domestic passengers will be taken after consultations with users and stakeholders, the developers said.

The decision to collect UDF was in tune with the ministry of civil aviation’s decision to empower developers of greenfield airports to levy it on all departing passengers.

The board of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) decided not to collect UDF from domestic passengers and this has been accepted by the ministry, managing director of GHIAL Kiran K. Grandhi told a news conference Monday.

The Rs.25 billion ($620 million) airport, which has come up at Shamshabad, about 30 km from the city, is scheduled to be inaugurated by United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi March 14.

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, as the new facility will be called, will commence commercial operations from 0001 hours on March 16 by shifting all the operations from existing facility at Begumpet in the heart of the city.

Admitting that the decision not to levy UDF on domestic passengers would “significantly impact” the profitability and delay the breakeven of the project, Grandhi said it was part of their efforts to ensure that travel from the new facility was not expensive and Hyderabad became the preferred destination and a hub on par with Dubai and Singapore.

GHIAL has also decided to not to hike landing and parking charges and passenger service. “These will continue to be levied at the existing level,” he said.

In a unique move, the developers also announced that parking of vehicles at the airport would be free for the first 15 minutes. They claimed it would be the first airport in India to take this step.

They also tried to dispel the apprehension in some quarters that travel from the city to the airport could take two hours and claimed that it would not take more than an hour as majority of connectivity issues were addressed.

The new airport is designed to handle 12 million passengers a year and the developers expect that the passenger traffic would go up from present 7 million to 8.4 million in the first year of operation.

GHIAL is a joint venture company promoted by GMR Infrastructure Ltd (63 percent stake), Malaysian Airports Holding Berhad (11 percent), Airports Authority of India (13) and government of Andhra Pradesh (13).

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