User fee at KIA up by 120%

User fee at KIA up by 120%

The user development fee (UDF) has been hiked by a massive 120% for both domestic and international departing passengers at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) for the next four months.

The hike comes into effect from Tuesday. The UDF for domestic departures has been revised to Rs 306 from Rs 139.

For international departures, the fee is now Rs 1,226, up from Rs 558.

The revised charges will be applicable for tickets procured between April 16 and August 15. The UDF at will revert to the earlier rates after August 15, according to KIA operator, the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL).

The airport operator says the additional funds collected will only be used to meet the capital expenditure of the expansion projects and will provide BIAL with required cash flows to implement these projects.

“This incremental increase in charges would provide BIAL much needed relief as we are in the midst of a massive Rs 13,000-crore capacity expansion to cater to the stupendous growth of the aviation sector in India,” says BIAL managing director and chief executive officer, Hari Marar.

“As mandated by AERA, the money generated from the incremental increase in UDF, during these four months, will be deposited in a separate bank account and will be used only to fund the ongoing infrastructure expansion, “ says Marar.

The four-month hike is based on an Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) amendment issued on April 4.

The amendment itself followed an interim relief given by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) ruling of March 14, 2019, allowing BIAL to collect revised charges for a limited period of four months.

Aviation experts say the UDF hike will burden air passengers even further, as air fares have spiked due to the grounding of several Jet Airways flights and the Boeing Max crisis.

In September 2016, AERA had reduced the UDF by 67% much to the relief of passengers. However, the regulatory authority had ruled that from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, international passengers will pay Rs 558 and domestic flyers will be charged Rs 139.

Both BIAL and the State Government had opposed the Fee reduction, citing expenditure for airport expansion projects. Besides the second runway and second terminal, these included the Airport Metro link and stations.

Due to the Fee reduction, BIAL had decided to go slow on its proposed third entry through an Eastern tunnel.