NEW DELHI: Flying out of Delhi will cost marginally more from next month. The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has allowed Delhi International Airport Ltd to levy Rs 65.98 plus taxes per departing passenger from February 1 to March 31 in lieu of the “fuel throughput charge” levied on airlines till January 15, 2020.
The new charge per passenger departing from Indira Gandhi International Airport will drop to Rs 53, Rs 52.56 and 51.97 (taxes extra), respectively, in financial years 2022 (April 1, 2021-March 31, 2022), 2023 and 2024.
Sources said that AERA hadn’t yet approved DIAL’s request for an additional levy of Rs 200 and Rs 300 from each domestic and international outbound passenger to offset the revenue losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The airport operator had sought to levy this charge till March 2024. “AERA has asked DIAL to approach it after March 2022 regarding this levy if its financial problems persist. The operator is examining what step it can take, such as an appeal to a tribunal given its financial deficit,” said a source.
DIAL, anticipating a revenue shortfall of Rs 3,538 crore from April 2020 to March 2024, had petitioned the civil aviation ministry in early December to direct AERA to factor in the Covid impact on its revenue. “Viability gap support of Rs 3,538 crore would be required for third control period (till FY 2024) to maintain operations, service levels, safety and security of the airport… the (declining) traffic scenario has taken a toll on DIAL’s financial position and put forth a challenge for sustainable operations,” DIAL CEO V K Jaipuriar had written to aviation secretary P S Kharola. “In case, AERA does not consider our request of viability gap, DIAL will end up with a serious cash flow deficit and find itself difficult to continue the airport operations.”
Meanwhile, AERA has accepted the IGIA operator’s traffic projection which puts it returning to the level of traffic actually seen in financial year 2019-20 three years from now in financial year 2022-23. And if the Covid pandemic is brought under control, financial year 2023-24 could see a marginal increase from the figures in the pre-pandemic days. Cargo traffic is not impacted as severely as passenger flights due to the significant movement of freighters during the pandemic restrictions.