Seeking to ease fuel costs for India's struggling airlines, the government has decided to permit private carriers to use public sector jet fuel facilities like refuelling terminals and storage facilities at Chennai and Kolkata airports.
Such open access already exists at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore airports, and this has been extended to the other two major airports as well, it was announced at the Petrotech 2012 Conference in New Delhi this week.
At a meeting convened on 24 September by Pulok Chatterji, principal secretary to the prime minister, the issue of open access to ATF facilities of PSUs at airports was discussed. It was earlier planned that open access would be provided at Chennai, Kolkata, Goa and Mumbai airports by March 2013. However, the target date was shifted to December 2014/March 2015, PTI reports.
At the meeting, attended by petroleum secretary G C Chaturvedi, it was decided that open access would be provided at Chennai and Kolkata airports by March 2013.
At most of the airports ATF supply facilities are owned and operated by the three state-owned oil retailers, while the land is owned by the Airports Athority of India (AAI), the developer. The AAI levies land lease and throughput charges on oil PSUs. Under the open access system, both public and private firms can sell fuel by paying for the infrastructure and hydrant facilities.
The government had, in February, conceded to demands of domestic airlines and allowed them to import aviation turbine fuel (ATF) directly. But none of the airlines so far have made much headway in importing fuel, as refuelling and other infrastructure at most airports are still owned and operated by public sector oil firms.