India today came under sharp attack for the recent rise in charges at the Delhi airport and major delays in building new airports and strengthening infrastructure, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) saying this was “clearly unacceptable” and the government should encourage the aviation sector for overall economic growth.
Observing that the Airports Economic Regula-tory Authority of India (AERA) allowed a 346 per cent rise in Delhi airport charges, IATA Director General and Chief Executive Tony Tyler said, “This is clearly unacceptable.”
“Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has to pay 46 per cent of its revenue to the government. This is neither in the interest of the airlines nor of the airport,” Tyler added.
Addressing the annual general meeting of the IATA here, Tyler said he would be holding discussions with Indian authorities on this issue soon, expressing hope that “there might be some common ground” which could be found to protect airlines’ and consumers’ interests.
“Governments often miss the mark with economic regulation of infrastructure supplies. This was outdone by the Indian regulator, which allowed a 346 per cent increase in Delhi, making it among the world’s most expensive airports,” he said.
The Indian airport regulator “failed to protect the public interest”, though it followed the prescribed guidelines to allow the massive rise in airport charges and user development fees for passengers.
On aviation infrastructure in India and other parts of the world, Tyler lamented that “Mumbai’s much-needed new airport (at Navi Mumbai) will not open as scheduled in 2014, construction has not even started”.
“Airlines need infrastructure to grow. Just like taxes and regulation, some governments understand and reap the benefits. Others don’t and the economy suffers the consequences,” the IATA chief said.
He said the governments must build regulations that support jobs and economic growth by keeping the cost of connectivity reasonable.
Releasing the global industry outlook, Tyler said the global airline profits were expected to be $3 billion this year, significantly down from $7.9 billion in 2011 and $15.8 billion in 2010. The major challenges were high jet fuel prices and economic uncertainty, particularly in Europe that was affecting Asia-Pacific region.