Fix minimal user development fees at airports: panel

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New Delhi, Apr 18 (UNI) Asserting that higher user development fees would significantly affect the economy and the viability of airlines, a Parliamentary panel has recommended imposing minimal amount on passengers for using airports.

''Making air travel expensive by such development fees will have a significant impact on the overall economy, especially on the tourism, commerce and hospitality sectors,'' the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture says in its 133rd report on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2007.

Calling development fee as a ''new syndrome'' in the aviation sector, the panel notes that the main task of the proposed Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) will be to determine the quantum of such fees.

''Any amount of development fee will definitely increase the cost of air travel which will finally have an impact on the viability of the airlines.'' The Committee hopes that the proposed regulator will definitely play a positive and critical role in determining development fees.

''... any amount of development fee which will be fixed by the AERA should not dampen the passenger demand,'' says the report, tabled in Parliament yesterday.

The panel points out that pending the AERA set-up, the operators of the new greenfield private airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore have already fixed different rates of development fee.

UNI YJ SG HS1346

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