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Patel against imposition of congestion charge

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) The decision of some airlines to impose a congestion charge of Rs 150 per passenger hasn't gone down well with the country's civil aviation minister.

Mr Praful Patel said today the government will take note of it.

''Airlines can hike fares if they like, but imposing congestion charge is wrong.'' The congestion at airports is imposed only in Delhi and Mumbai, he said, and that too at peak hours. ''Why can't airlines spread their flight timings?'' The minister said he will soon call a meeting of all airlines to discuss the matter. ''I'll advise Indian (Airlines) not to be a part of the decision. The congestion charge should be abolished.'' New domestic low-cost airlines, more competition and cheaper fares have led to an unprecedented boom in air passenger traffic across the country.But aviation infrastructure has not improved much in recent years.

As a result, several aircraft have to hover above a city before landing as runways are occupied. Airports in Delhi and Mumbai with single runways each handle over 500 aircraft movements per day.

A total 123,000 passengers travel daily by air on an average.

The number of domestic air passengers jumped 27.9 per cent in 2005-06 to 50.98 million while the number of international passengers moved up 15.45 per cent to 22.37 million.

UNI SU CS SP RAI1349

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