Questions over proposal to impose additional fee on air passengers

Questions over proposal to impose additional fee on air passengers

The state Cabinet's decision to raise Rs 1,000 crore through the BIAL to fund the airport metro line has raised many questions.

A spokesperson for the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) refused to comment on the proposal or the plan to split the additional fee between the domestic and international passengers.  

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority had permitted the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to charge domestic and international passengers  Rs 20 and
Rs 120,  respectively, between April 2016 and end of March 2021. The MIAL is raising Rs 777 crore for Colaba-SEEPZ metro (Line 3) and will build three stations.

Through the BIAL, the government wants to raise Rs 1,000 crore towards Nagawara-Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) line. The BIAL has also in principle agreed to build two stations.

Urban transport activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said authorities should not burden the air passengers with high user development fee (UDF). "When they collect such amounts, they should also have the vision to deliver good service."

Service beyond midnight

Noting that the Mumbai metro plans to run trains beyond midnight to serve international flights that usually operate between 12 am and 5 am and early domestic flyers, he said such plans should be part of the KIA-Nagawara metro line from the beginning.

"The government should explain how it plans to serve the passengers who pay the UDF before the service has begun," he said.

Considering that the 50-km line between Gottigere and KIA will have five transit hubs - Jayadeva, MG Road, Shivajinagar, Cantonment and Nagawara - besides the airport, the government can expect a huge number of passengers.

The Cabinet note says the trains on the airport line will be of six coaches. This may fall short of the requirement assuming that luggage check-in services will be provided at the metro stations.

The KIA saw 2.2 crore passengers in 2016 of which 16% were international. The government's conservative estimate of the KIA footfall for 2021 is 60,000 per day with the optimistic estimate pushing the number to 1 lakh per day.

"Nine-coach trains similar to those run by Delhi Metro would help the government to cater to metro as well as air passengers," he said.

DH News Service

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