Flying to and from Delhi Airport is set to get cheaper, as the Supreme Court has ordered the government to slash fees for flyers and parking charges for airlines.
The apex court has asked Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) to implement the tariff of the second control period (2014-2019) with immediate effect.
Under the second control period AERA has cut the User Development Fee (UDF) levied on domestic and international passengers at Delhi Airport to Rs 10 and Rs 45, respectively. Also, arriving passengers will no longer be charged any fees.
At present, Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) levies Rs 275-550 as UDF on each departing passenger and Rs 233-466 on each arriving one, on domestic flights.
International passengers departing are charged Rs 635-1,270 and arriving passengers pay Rs 518-1,048 as UDF. This includes service tax component.
AERA's order for Delhi formally covers the 2014-19 period. However, the implementation was delayed as Delhi International Airport was locked in a legal battle with the airlines regarding this. State-owned carrier Air India challenged this in the Supreme Court, which on 3 July vacated a stay granted by the Delhi HC, allowing the revised tariffs to kick in.
GMR Infra which holds the majority stake in the consortium that runs Delhi Airport said in an exchange filing that it will pursue the matter with an appellate tribunal. "DIAL would engage constructively with the regulator to endeavour a balanced implementation and will work expeditiously with the appellate tribunal to reach a fair and positive outcome in the two months directed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court", GMR Infra said.
Overall, the charges on passengers and airlines have been reduced by 89.4 per cent. These include levies on landing and parking of aircraft, common use of terminal equipment charges, UDF and fuel throughout charges.
DIAL had sought a 42 per cent increase in rates and over and above the 346 per cent rise granted to it by the regulator for the first control period (2009-14).
AERA rejected the plea and initially ordered a 96 per cent reduction. DIAL pleaded these would make airport operations unviable and lead to a downgrade in credit ratings and default on loan payments. AERA then modified its decision.