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Travellers to queue up at B'lore, Hyd'bad airports as airlines refuse to carry user fees on tickets news
25 August 2008

New Delhi: Problems come in droves, as travellers tend to discover time and again, in particular air travellers. With the civil aviation ministry clearing the levy of a User Development Fee (UDF) on airport passengers at Hyderabad and Bengaluru International Airport (BIAL ) and with CSIA at Mumbai lining up for a similar privilege, air travellers will now find themselves facing additional trouble queuing up to pay these fees as airlines have refused to carry the charge on their tickets.

Domestic airlines have, for now, decided not to include UDF that outbound passengers have to pay at new airports in Hyderabad and Bangalore in their ticket costs. This means that travellers will have to pay the amount directly to airport operators when they go to board their flights.

"Short-haul traffic out of Hyderabad and Bangalore has already suffered. We are not in favour of levying a UDF as this would further dent traffic. if developers want this fee, they'll have to collect it themselves for the time being," Jet Airways CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schaeur said.

The Jet  CEO also said that the issue is being raised at the level of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), an umbrella organization of all domestic carriers.

The civil aviation ministry has allowed the GMR-led Hyderabad airport consortia to charge Rs 375 from each outbound domestic flier and is already considering allowing Siemens-led Bangalore airport JV to make similar levies.

According to ministry officials such charges ought to be part of the ticket, for if people have to stand in queues to pay the charge then the whole point of creating world-class infrastructure would be lessened. They said that the whole point behind creating such infrastructure was to lessen the pain of standing in endless lines for all kinds of facilities.

Airlines operators point out, in turn, that air travel is currently registering negative growth in the country and airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore are located quite far from city centres. Any further levy of UDF would only act as yet another disincentive for air travel.

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Travellers to queue up at B'lore, Hyd'bad airports as airlines refuse to carry user fees on tickets