Bill to regulate India's airports introduced in parliament

The Bill to setting up an Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), a body that will regulate the country's airports, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday 6 September by union minister for civil aviation Praful Patel.

The act covers all airports in the country, including public airports, private and leased airports, greenfield ventures as well as civil enclaves. Airports maintained by the armed forces will not fall under the act.

The authority is expected to be constituted early next year. It will determine airport tariffs and charges, and will also have an appellate tribunal to settle disputes between stakeholders like airport developers, consumers and service providers.

The regulatory authority and the tribunal will both have a chairman and two members selected by the central government. The bodies will be empowered to appoint officers, employees and experts to discharge their functions.

At present, there is a uniform tariff structure for all airports, determined by the Airports Authority of India. But there have been a number of complaints about discrepancies in charges, as well as substandard services. The AERA is expected to streamline all these issues.

It will also set standards of performance for airports on the basis of criteria set by the Airports Council International (ACI), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).