In some good news for travellers, flights having Delhi’s Domestic and International airports as either source or destination would now see their ticket prices slashed. This would be a result of a 89.40% reduction in Airport Charges as ordered by the Central Government bodies.
In the new tariff structure which became effective from 7th July, the User Development Fee charged by the Delhi airport would go down to Rs 10 and Rs 45 for Domestic and International flights originating at Delhi. The User Development Fee for flights culminating at Delhi has been totally scrapped.
Earlier the User Development Fee used to be as high as Rs 578 for a flight between Mumbai and Delhi and about Rs 1,335 for a Delhi-New York flight. Inbound passengers too had to shell out almost a similar amount.
This price reduction is a result of a long battle between the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) and GMR Infrastructure’s Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) over airport charges.
The airport charges are fixed for a duration of 5 years so the current rates were fixed for the 2014-2019 slab. From 2004-2009 the airport charges were increased by 346% while DIAL had demanded an increase of 775% which had led to it knocking the appellate board of AERA.
The AERA had passed an order to reduce these airport charges back in December 2015, which couldn’t be implemented as DIAL went to the Delhi High Court, which ordered a stay on the revised charges until the issue was disposed off by AERA’s appellate panel.
While the case continued to remain in a limbo due to the stay order of Delhi High Court, National Carrier Air India decided to do something about it and petitioned the Supreme Court regarding the matter.
According to Air India, DIAL had already earned Rs 188 crore more than its 2014-19 revenue target on 1st April 2014 itself. It further claimed that had the old tariff continued, the Airport Developer would have earned a whooping Rs 9000 crores more than its prescribed target by 2019.
The Supreme Court took cognisance of the matter and on 3rd July vacated the stay order by the Delhi High Court which allowed the lower rates to kick in.
The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), which is a body to safeguard the consumer’s interest, has demanded that all the excess revenue which the DIAL has ‘illegally’ earned should be returned to the airline and the flyers. The body also wants a removal of the Airport Development Fee and a reduction in landing and parking charges as has apparently been recommended by the AERA.