The Bill for setting up the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
When established, the main objective of AERA will be to create a level playing field and foster healthy competition among all major airports, including government owned, public private partnership based, and private airports. It would also encourage investment in airport facilities, and regulate tariffs of aeronautical services.
AERA would also try to protect the reasonable interests of users, operate efficient, economic and viable airports at notified airports.
As envisioned, the Authority would be made up of a Chairperson and two persons appointed by the Central Government from amongst persons having ''adequate'' knowledge and professional expertise in aviation, economic law, and commerce or consumer affairs. The members shall be whole time appointees.
Whenever the Authority would have to decide a matter involving a civil enclave in a Defence airfield, the Defence Ministry would be represented by an additional member on the Authority who will be nominated by the Ministry of Defence.
The Authority will also have penal powers, and would be able to penalise or punish for wilful failure to comply with its orders and directions of the AERA Act, non-compliance of the orders of the Authority, offences by companies, and offences by Government Departments.
The Authority would determine tariffs once in five years, even though it could amend it from time to time during that tenure basis appropriate public interest.
The AERA Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 5 September, 2007, and was thereafter referred for the consideration of the department related parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture.
The Standing Committee examined the AERA Bill in consultation with the stakeholders and presented its report to the Parliament on 17 April, 2008, making some recommendations, most of which were introduced to the Bill.
The Bill will now be introduced in Rajya Sabha.