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Delhi, Mumbai airports allowed to continue charging user development fees

07 April 2014

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), has allowed user development fees (UDF) to be charged by privately managed Delhi and Mumbai airports till 31 May, in a controversial election eve sop.

The airports would also charge airlines landing and parking charges up to the date.

The civil aviation ministry was pushing for a reduction in the Delhi airport tariff rates, at least by half, for the next five years, which was opposed by airport operator Delhi International Airports Limited (DIAL).

Commercial airlines, saddled with losses, as also air passengers, who would bear the burden of the extra charges, have been complaining against the high fees.

According to ministry sources, the tariff for Delhi and Mumbai airports was fixed till 31 March, but operators of the two airports, GMR Group's DIAL and GVK-led Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) respectively had wanted more time to fix these charges. Further in addition to UDF, parking and landing charges, the tariff also includes charges for parking aircraft, ground handling, safety services, fuel supply, surveillance, supportive communication and navigation for aircraft.

Meanwhile, officials of the Delhi International Airport Limited and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), responsible for guarding the airport premises are embroiled in a blame game over a mentally ill boy who breached the airport's perimeter wall and wandered onto the runway, nearly a month ago, Mail Today reports.

The security breach, first reported by Mail Today on 12 March, had led to several joint and independent investigations into the incident, including those constituted by the CISF and DIAL to ascertain the factors that led to the intrusion. (This was reportedly the second time boy the boy had been able to sneak in the last one year.)

A preliminary confidential report on the incident submitted by the CISF and accessed by Mail Today, had clearly brought to the fore the acrimonious internal rift between the country's two agencies.

 The report absurdly levels accusations against authorities of hatching a "conspiracy" to smuggle the kid inside. "There is no clear evidence on how the intruder managed to get inside the airport premises. This raises doubts that a conspiracy was hatched to get him in," the report states.

The CISF officer charged with airport security had also made adverse comments over the alleged lack of co-operation in making the security cover effective by airport authorities.

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