The government has decided to increase the minimum passenger limit for airports to be categorised as ‘major airports’, hence reducing the reach of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) by more than half, The Economic Times reports.
With the amendment of the AERA Act, the government would be able to bid out private airport management on the basis of a predetermined tariff. The move comes amid Modi government’s ambitious drive to make aviation services affordable, even to those in the lower middle-income bracket.
The AERA was created to decide the parking and landing charges at major airports handling over 1.5 million passengers per annum. Now with the threshold increased to 3.5 million passengers per annum for any airport to be classified as major airports, the number of airports under the AERA ambit would fall from 30 to 13.
The job of deciding charges at the remaining 17 airports will now fall on the civil aviation ministry. AERA was criticised for employing tariff arrangements scaling up to 15 per cent of the airlines’ operating costs. Thus enticing the carriers to transfer the burden on the passengers.
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