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Delhi, Mumbai airport fees may soar soon

Flying out of New Delhi and Mumbai may become expensive as the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority ( AERA) is presently consulting with stakeholders for a massive increase - of as high as 500 to 600 per cent - in landing, parking, navigation and other charges at airports in New Delhi and Mumbai, a top aviation ministry official has said.

Flying out of New Delhi and Mumbai may become expensive asthe Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) is presently consulting withstakeholders for a massive increase - of as high as 500 to 600 per cent - inlanding, parking, navigation and other charges at airports in New Delhi andMumbai, a top aviation ministry official has said.

"The AERA is seeking the opinions of airport users,including airlines, on the multi-year tariff proposals of Delhi InternationalAirport Limited (DIAL) and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) toincrease airport charges by 500 to 600 per cent," said the official, addingthat the new charges, if approved, would come into effect early next year.

If the propose hike in charges comes into play, flying outof New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International ( IGI) airport would becomeexpensive as the airlines on whom this additional burden would be imposed,would pass on the cost to the air passengers.

A proposal prepared by the DIAL and the MIAL, a few monthsago to increase the airport charges, is likely to be taken up by the AERA inanother two to three months, they said.

The hike in airport charges has been overdue since 2001 butit would depend on the policies of the Union ministry of civil aviation,decision of AERA and the views and opinions of the important stakeholders,including airlines and passenger associations, whose viewpoints are beingsought, the official said.

While the airport charge such as landing, parking and airnavigation fees levied by the airport operators have not been revised since2001, the GMR Infrastructure Limited and GVK Power and Infrastructure- ledairport operators also say that the directive of the Supreme Court on not tocollect development fee from passengers has also imposed a major financialburden.

The apex court has left it to the AERA to decide on theissue of the development fee.

The GMR-led DIAL, in which Airports Authority of India (AAI) has a stake of 26 per cent, has invested a sum total of Rs 12,718 crore sofar to upgrade, refurbish and modernise the IGI Airport.

The airport authority is looking for a 24 per cent return onits equity.