AERA rules out hike in airport charges

Ruling out any further hike in airport charges, airports economic regulator chief Yashwant Bhave on Monday justified the recent substantial increase in the rates saying there has been no raise since a decade.

"There is no question of any further increase in the rates. Increasing the charges is valid as since 2001 charges were not increased. Airport charges should have normally gone up by seven per cent but it did not happen," Bhave, Chairman of Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), said here.

He denied that the airport charges have gone up by 345 per cent as claimed by various aviation companies. "The charges have been increased between 60 per cent to 200 per cent and not by 345. What has increased significantly is for the passengers. Passenger charges have increased and that is a factual matter," Bhave said.

He said the charges were not increased for a long time due to various compulsions therefore, "It should not be said that now the charges should not increase." On shortage of manpower in the AERA, he said vacancies will be filled in a couple of years and the regulatory body has informed the Civil Aviation Ministry of its requirement.

"We have already asked the Ministry for this. There are no full member not even the Secretary. We will get all the numbers in a year or two," he said, adding the sanctioned strength for the body is 28.

"Financial memorandum mentions 50 people but sanctioned manpower is 28. We have 20 people on deputation," he said. He was interacting with aviation business leaders in a session organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce here. Supporting transparency in the rules, regulations and various tariffs and charges levied by the airport authority, Bhave said he will look into the issue raised by the aviation companies.

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