Pune: Fliers travelling through Pune airport have raised the issue of overcharging by the outlets at airport selling coffee, tea and water. The issue was also raised by the airlines with the Pune airport authority. Finally, the Pune airport authority has decided to start a low-cost outlet vending coffee, tea and water.
A tender to the effect has already been floated and has got good response, said airport officials.
Ajay Kumar, Director, Pune airport, told Sakal Times, “We received complaints from fliers about the overcharging for coffee, tea and water. We have decided to start a low-cost outlet.”
It has been decided that the new outlet will price coffee at Rs 25, Tea at Rs 15 and water will be available at Rs 5.
The directives issued by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) last year had stated that restaurants and snack bars at the Pune airport continued to overcharge visitors for water, tea and coffee in a clear violation of the directives of the airport authorities.
Specifying how much they can charge for water - Rs 10 for 500 ml and Rs 20 for 1 litre of water, Rs 20 for 150 ml of tea, and Rs 30 for 150 ml coffee, the outlets continued to sell these items at higher prices.
In July 2017, Ajay Kumar had convened a meeting of all concessionaire operators and had directed them to sell these items at ‘economical prices’, as directed by the AAI headquarters. The minutes of the meeting, held on July 2, state that representatives of six concessionaires - Lite Bite Foods, New Poona Bakery, Sai Balaji Food and Beverage, Sugardough run by Supra Foods and outlets run by PK Hospitality and RBA Hospitality - had attended the meeting.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, an aviation expert and analyst, said it is only fair to low-budget passengers that AAI has decided to make tea, coffee and water available at affordable prices at the Pune airport. But they must also make available snacks at affordable rates, he added.
“It must be understood that airports are no more only for the rich. The government and airport operators must ensure that low-income travellers do not feel out of place here. Today, these passengers have to face the dilemma when it comes to having snacks or even a cup of tea or coffee at the airport,” he said.
“There have been regular outbursts from passengers about what they feel is the predatory pricing of food and beverages at airports. Like malls, theme parks, stadiums and multiplexes, airports, too, are enclosed areas with captured customers, who have little or no option when it comes to buying food or beverages at these places. So, if a passenger is hungry or needs a drink, they are compelled to buy from what is on offer and at the price it is sold,” he added.
Passengers expressed their happiness and said that a low-cost outlet at the Pune airport was the need of the hour.
Amit Srivastava, a regular passenger, said. “Despite complaints to the authorities about the outlets overcharging for basic items inside the airport, they had not taken any action. If the new outlet starts, passengers will be happy.”