India came under sharp attack today for increase in charges at Delhi airport as also major delays in building new airports and in the strengthening of infrastructure, with airlines' body IATA terming it as "clearly unacceptable.'' The body said, the government needed to encourage the aviation sector for overall economic growth.
Commenting on the whopping 346 per cent hike allowed by India's airport regulator, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) in Delhi airport charges, IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said "this is clearly unacceptable".
"The 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".
Addressing the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Beijing, Tyler said he would be holding discussions with Indian authorities on the issue soon, and expressed hope that "there might be some common ground" which could be found to protect the interests of airlines and consumers.
"Governments often miss the mark with economic regulation of infrastructure supplies... The (airport) regulator in South Africa allowed a 161 per cent increase in airport charges...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.
He added, both Indian and the South African airport regulators "failed to protect the public interest", though they followed the prescribed guidelines to steeply hike airport charges and user development fees for passengers.