New Delhi: The Indian government should have consulted the stakeholders before increasing airport and navigation charges, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
Blair Cowles, Regional Director, Safety and Flight Operations, IATA, expressed the international airline body’s displeasure in a letter to RN Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on December 9. The letter was made public on January 5.
Blair Cowles wrote, “As you would be well aware, Airport and ANS (Air Navigation Services) charges must be in line with the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) tenets of user-consultation, cost-relatedness, transparency, and non-discrimination. These core principles have been missing from the recent all around airport and ANS charges increases in India.”
The charges – enhanced by 10 per cent – would apply to all aircraft in the country, besides airlines. They include route navigation, landing and parking charges. Foreign airlines will also have to shell out more money for flying over India.
Because of its geographic location, India gets a substantial amount of revenue in overflying rights and in foreign currency. All flights going from southeast Asia to the Middle East and Europe and back typically overfly India.
Airport charges make for about 7-10 per cent of an airline’s costs, which could mean an increase of about 1-1.5 per cent in airline costs due to the latest charges.
IATA said the value of aviation for India till 2014 was US$72 billion per year or 3.4 per cent of GDP. This is in addition to the eight million jobs from the direct, indirect and induced benefits of tourism spending, infrastructure investment and trade.
“Increases in charges without proper consultation has the potential to rapidly erode competitive advantage and potentially jeopardise the growth prospect of the tourism industry and the wider economy of India,” Blair Cowles said in the letter.
IATA said that there should be at least a four-month consultation window and notice of revision should be given to airlines and their representative organisations. It asked the ministry is charges could be deferred indefinitely.
However, the ministry said these charges are used to fund air navigation services like installing hi-tech radars and equipment, which ultimately help bring more productivity to airline operations and save costs in the end.