New regulator for airports in place by March 31

January 2nd, 2009 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) A new aviation regulator - the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) - will come into effect by March 31 this year, according to a ministry official.”AERA has been notified in the gazette. It has to be in place by March 31,” the official told IANS Friday. Once AERA becomes operational, Indian airports will have a tariff regulator in line with international practices.

The AERA Bill 2007 received the cabinet nod in May 2007, but was cleared by parliament only in October 2008. It was given clearance by the president late last month.

AERA’s prime objective is to create a level-playing field and foster healthy competition between airports, encourage investment in airport facilities, regulate fares and protect passenger interests.

The authority will approve the tariff structure - airport charges including air navigation charges - and monitor the infrastructure standards at airports.

Charges for navigation services that are levied by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) will also be subject to AERA’s approval.

It will also encourage investment in airport facilities, regulate tariffs for aeronautical services, ensure protection of users, and issue guidelines for efficient and economical operations of notified airports.

The AERA will determine tariff once in five years but can, in public interest, amend the tariff from time to time during this period.

The authority will also have powers to penalise any government agency, airport authortities and airline operators for wilful failure to comply with its orders and directions, said the official.

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