Delhi slashes VAT on ATF from 25% to 1% to make air travel to remote areas cheaper

Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party government has slashed the VAT on aircraft turbine fuel (ATF) from 25 per  cent to 1 per cent, in a move that would make air travel from Delhi to remote areas cheaper and giving a boost to the centre's regional connectivity scheme (RCS).

Presenting the Delhi budget for 2017-18, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the cut in VAT on ATF will be applicable for direct flights between Delhi and remote areas identified under the RCS scheme as per prescribed conditions.

Sisodia said the decision to cut the VAT on ATF will benefit people from the Northeast and other remote areas as fares under RCS will come down significantly.

The regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) is aimed at promoting at connectivity to smaller cities. The scheme was launched last year but flights under it are yet to take off.

"We have decided to bring down VAT on ATF from 25 per cent to 1 per cent for flights to remote areas such as North Eastern states to support the Centre's regional connectivity scheme," Sisodia said.

Civil aviation ministry sources said although Delhi's IGI airport is not an RCS airport, the concession extended by the Delhi government will support RCS.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hailed the government's decision and said it would lead to reduction in airfares of flights to remote areas from Delhi.

The airline companies welcomed the move of Delhi government.

"This is a welcome move, which will help reduce costs and, in turn, help bring down fares for flights to smaller airports in the country. We support all initiatives that help reduce fares for our consumers," said Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet.

Aditya Ghosh, president and whole-time director, IndiGo, said, "while this is a welcome move and it will provide the much needed impetus to the Regional Connectivity Scheme, we do request that this tax break is broadened to all air travel out of Delhi."

Sisodia said though Delhi was not a part of the scheme, airlines that have opted to operate under RCS and will ply flights to airports and helipads on prescribed routes involving Delhi will be able to avail the benefit.