Air Passengers from Delhi to pay additional fee from March 1 (Lead)

February 9th, 2009 - 7:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) The government Monday approved additional fee of Rs.200 on all domestic passengers and Rs.1,300 per head on those going abroad from the airport in the national capital as access development charges to its developer.

The development fee will be paid to the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), which has the Bangalore-based infrastructure major GMR and the state-run Airports Authority of India as principal promoters.

The company has been mandated to upgrade and modernise the Indira Gandhi International Airport here and the addtional levy has been permitted to help it meet the shortfall in raising funds for the project.

“The development fee, which is being levied purely on an ad hoc basis, is inclusive of all applicable taxes and is for a period of 36 months only,” an official communique from the civil aviation ministry said.

The government or the designated regulator will determine the final development fee, based on final cost estimates presented by the developer, for which Aug 31 has been set as the deadline, the communique said.

The final fee will also be based on the bids received for handing over parts of the airport property on lease to hospitality industry for projects like hotels, duty-free shops and restaurants. These too are expected to earn revenues for the developer.

Domestic passenger already pays Rs.375 to fly out of Hyderabad’s new airport, while international passengers have been paying a fee of Rs.1,000, ever since the airport started operations early last year.

The government last month also allowed the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) to charge user development fee of Rs.260 from domestic and Rs.1,000 from passengers bound overseas.

The Delhi airport developer had sought Rs.300 and Rs.1,000 as development fee from outgoing domestic and international passengers, respectively. The ministry said the amount collected cannot exceed Rs.18.27 billion (Rs.1827 crore), exclusive of taxes.

Officials explained that in the case of Hyderabad and Bangalore, the levy is called user development fee, permitted after a new airport is operational, while in Delhi, it is to fund an upcoming project and called access development fee.

The fee permitted for the Delhi developer, therefore, is temporary in nature, mainly to help it bridge the capital funding gap due to the fall in passenger numbers as projected by the government while handing the project, officials explained.

A senior official in the civil aviation ministry said a similar relief was also in the offing for Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), being developed by a consortium led by Hyderabad-based GVK, and with Airports Authority as a co-promoter.

Both Delhi and Mumbai airports have reported deficits of about Rs.2,000 crore (Rs.20 billion). These airports handle 55 percent of airline passengers in India. Their upgrade is expected to cost a total of Rs.11,400 crore (Rs.114 billion).

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