Sunday, August 31, 2008

UDF talks on hold till high court judgment

UDF talks on hold till high court judgment
Anshul Dhamija |TNN

Bangalore: The ministry of civil aviation has shelved all discussions regarding the future of the new Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), including the proposal for a user development fee (UDF).
Senior ministry officials told STOI that discussions on BIA would resume after the Karnataka High Court’s judgment on various issues pertaining to BIA, which is likely to be given in mid-September.
“We have submitted the Airports Authority of India (AAI) report on BIA to the High Court”, said a senior ministry official. The AAI report on BIA states that BIA is under capacity as its terminal can accommodate only 9.78 million passengers annually as against Bangalore’s current passenger traffic of over 10.5 million passengers. It also suggests that HAL be reopened for domestic operations in order to ease the load on BIA.
The UDF to be charged on departing domestic passengers, which was to come into effect on August 24, has also been put on the back burner. “We have the proposals made by BIAL. We have not looked into the matter yet. The ministry has three months’ time to decide and we are in no hurry now,” added the official.
However, it is unlikely that BIAL would get the UDF of Rs 675 (plus taxes) it has quoted. In fact, airlines are now at loggerheads with the promoters of the Hyderabad airport, GMR, over the issue of incorporating UDF in the cost of ticket. “Travel agents have told airlines that if they have to charge passengers the UDF they want a commission of around 5%”, said a senior airline official. This, even as airlines are moving towards a ‘zero commission policy’ from November


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