Last Updated: February 28, 2023, 09:27 IST
If approved, the new rates will be applicable for airports that cater to UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) flights that aim at regional connectivity. (Image: Unsplash/Representative)
The stakeholders have been told to submit their suggestions by Tuesday, February 28, regarding the Centre’s proposal for a 30 per cent hike in charges for small airports
Will flights to smaller cities like Karnataka’s Belagavi, Uttar Pradesh Prayagraj and Agra get expensive? The answer is yes, as the Centre has proposed a 30 per cent hike in charges for small airports, which cater to less than 3.5 million passengers.
A report by CNBC quoted a draft concept paper of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and stated that the government has proposed a hike in landing and parking fees for aircraft by 30 per cent and increasing user development fees by four times.
The report stated that if approved, the new rates will be applicable for airports that cater to UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) flights that aim at regional connectivity.
In the paper, the ministry said that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was the major airport operator in the country, but today there are many other facilities that are being developed and operated by private players and states and that the monopoly of a service provider at a local level still exists.
The AAI has said that in absence of revision of charges, smaller airports may suffer Rs 4,000 crore losses in five years.
According to the draft concept paper, the airports would be divided in three categories:
Cluster 1: 13 airports that handle 1 million and more passengers a year
Cluster 2: 32 airports that handle 0.1 to 1 million passengers a year
Cluster 3: 32 airports that handle less than 0.1 million passengers a year
The CNBC report stated that the decision on the proposal is yet to be finalised. The stakeholders have been told to submit their suggestions regarding the same by Tuesday, February 28.
On Monday itself, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Karnataka’s newest airport in Shivamogga, Built at a cost of Rs 450 crore, the airport has been constructed under the Centre’s UDAN scheme aimed to make air travel affordable to all.
The lotus-shaped passenger terminal building of the greenfield domestic airport at Sogane in Shivamogga district can handle 300 passengers per hour. The airport in Shivamogga will boost commerce and increase connectivity, PM Modi said.
In Budget 2023, the government said 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes and advance landing grounds will be revived for improving regional air connectivity in the country. The announcement was made by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget for 2023-24.
Over the past few years, the government has been taking various initiatives, especially the UDAN scheme, to boost the regional air connectivity.
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