New Delhi: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) has asked the government to expedite the setting up of an Aviation Economic Regulator, who can address the issue of unprecedented hikes in non-aeronautical service charges that airports have now begun to levy.
According to Assocham civil aviation committee chairman, Jagdish Gupta, who also owns Jagsons Airlines, the rise in non-aeronautical charges has been unprecedented in the wake of privatisation of airports in the country. This has added considerable burden on the airlines, who are already crippled by the exceptionally high aviation turbine fuel prices.
Gupta said that until six months ago charges for 300 square meters were at Rs3,000 but, today, were at an astronomical Rs150,000.
The chamber was seeking a review of the multitude of handling charges such as hanger space, parking, ticketing counter space, back-up office space, and airport development fees. In the first display of protectionism, the chamber also asked the government that regional operators should be granted some level of insulation against competition from larger airlines on the routes developed by them.
Gupta, urging the government to form an Aviation Economic Regulator, also said the procedure for the grant of operating permits to regional and small operators by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) should be simplified, along the lines of procedures followed for national airlines.
He also demanded a single window clearance system instead of shunting applicants between various offices, which adds inefficiencies to the system.