No respite from UDF for flyers at KIA

No respite from UDF for flyers at KIA

Kempegowda International Airport

There is no escape from User Development Fees (UDF) for flyers heading out of the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). Despite the airport's high growth, the hefty Rs 1,537 collected as UDF from every international departure passenger and Rs 384.27 from domestic flyers will not reduce to zero as expected.

Instead, the airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has proposed a reduced UDF for the period from July 1, 2018 to March 31, 2021. The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) will take a final call after a public consultation next week.

For the period from July 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, BIAL has proposed a UDF rate of Rs 316.76 (tax excluded) to be levied from all embarking international passengers. The rate is Rs 79.19 (taxes extra) for domestic flyers. However, this goes up progressively over the next two years.

The UDF rates proposed from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 is Rs 373.68 for international and Rs 93.42 for domestic departure passengers. BIAL has proposed to increase the rates to Rs 416.22 for international and Rs 104.06 for domestic flyers during the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

Many have questioned the delay by AERA in coming out with a consultation paper. The first control period had ended on March 31, 2016. Since the Authority had not fixed the new UDF rates for the second control period, the higher UDF rate was continued, notes urban mobility analyst, Sanjeev Dyamannavar.

AERA had estimated that KIA's passenger numbers would grow by 8 to 10% annually. But the airport's grew by 17.6% from 2016-17 to 2017-18. Dyamannavar contends that the UDF should have been reduced taking into account the increased numbers.

Commercial exploitation of the 400 acres of undeveloped land in the KIA premises, he says, could have helped BIAL generate revenue for its infrastructure projects. This could have spared passengers the burden of UDF. Besides an airport hotel, the land remains under utilised.