Bangalore International Airport Ltd to introduce domestic user charge

Bangalore: Developers of the new Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) appear firm about disregarding ministry of civil aviation requests with their plan to issue a User Development Fee (UDF) of $6 on outbound domestic passengers, and $13 on international passengers for the first two months after start of operations. These rates, subsequently, will be hiked to $16.80 and $23.80 respectively.

According to BIAL CEO, Albert Brunner, it would not be fair to charge only international passengers on the same facilities being used by domestic passengers.

Similarly, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) also proposes to levy a UDF on domestic passengers at the new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport sometime in the next three months. GHIAL will also introduce a $24.80 charge on outbound international passengers.

Under original terms of agreement with the Indian Government, greenfield airport operators may levy UDF in order to recover development costs.

According to media reports, the ministry of civil aviation may ensure that in the future greenfield airport developers shall cross-subsidise aeronautical development only with non-aeronautical revenues. But as far as the current impasse with new Bangalore and Hyderabad airport developers is concerned they appear to be helpless.

A ministry spokesman said, ''rightly or wrongly, agreements have been signed with GHIAL and BIAL, and this allows them to collect UDF to recover their cost. But in Delhi and Mumbai airports, the operators are supposed to cross-subsidise aeronautical cost with 30% of their non-aeronautical revenue, (and) it would be applicable for all future greenfield projects.''