Pune: The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has ordered Airport Authority of India (AAI) to increase the charges of the aircraft parking fees. Details of the order are given in the report submitted to the Director General of Civil Enclave, on November 9, 2017.
DGCA Chief BS Bhullar issued an AIC (Airport Information Circular) advising that the new charges will come into effect at Pune airport from December 1, 2017.
Aeronautical Charges are levied for services or facilities directly related to the processing of aircraft and their passengers and cargo in connection with facilitating travel.
Under this head, AAI collects aircraft parking, housing and other aeronautical charges at Pune airport. These also include ground handling services, fuel throughput charges and cargo. As the runway control and management is with IAF, the landing and ANS charges are collected by them.
According to a report named ‘In a matter of determination of aeronautical tariffs at Civil Enclave in respect of Pune airport for the second Control Period (April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2021)’ there is a steep hike in these charges. At present, for aircrafts with a weight between 40-100 tonnes, the parking charges are Rs 72 + Rs 3.40 per 1,000 kg per hour in excess of 40,000 kg and housing charges are Rs 140+Rs 6.80 per hour per 1,000 kgs in excess of 40,000 kg.
The charges proposed wef 01.12.2017 by AERA on the proposal of AAI for aircrafts with a weight between 50-100 Metric Ton (MT) are parking charges of Rs 175 + Rs 8 per MT per hour in excess of 50 MT and housing charges of Rs 350 + Rs 16 per MT per hour in excess of 50 MT. Most of the flights operating from Pune fall in the 50-100 MT slab.
Total five slabs for charges have been created based on the aircraft weights. No parking charges shall be levied for the first two hours. Another interesting waiver offered is that all parking charges will be waived for domestic scheduled operators between 10 pm and 6 am.
However, these charges will be waived subject to the Maharashtra government bringing down the VAT on ATF to 5 per cent.
This relief will be deemed to have been withdrawn the day VAT on ATF increases beyond 5 per cent. The parking and housing charges will be increased by 4 per cent every subsequent year.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, an aviation expert and analyst, said that the increase in the aeronautical charges will result in making Pune airport expensive for flight operations as the aircraft operating cost will go up.
“The airlines will have to work hard on pricing to keep it attractive for the customers. However, with the multifold increase in tariff, they may be constrained to pass on some of this cost to the passengers to maintain their route economics and viability of flight operation. Some of the most popular flights from Pune are operating on short-haul routes to destinations like Goa, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad etc. These flights have a flying time of about 30 to 75 minutes with ticket costs varying from Rs 1,800 to Rs 4,000 on an average. With the proposal to introduce UDF and hike in the aeronautical and other charges may have an impact on some budget travellers, passengers travelling with a family or in groups. It will also have some impact on cargo customers and budget tourists,” Vandekar said.
“While increasing the airport tariffs, the government must set standards of deliverable service at the airports making the airport operators accountable for it. There is a need to link such hikes with service standards and satisfactory performance by the airport operators. The regulators like AERA must monitor the development work for which increase in tariff has been granted and ensure it is not delayed and completed as per the deadline. While trying to make most of the aviation demand at places like Pune, the concerned authorities should exercise caution while carrying out such steep increase in tariffs and ensure that they do not end becoming counterproductive for the airport,” Vandekar told Sakal Times.