Ahmedabad fallout: AERA warns airports against levying extra charges on charter flights – Times of India

by The Technical Blogs

NEW DELHI: The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has warned operators against levying extra charges on charter flights, saying the same violates the provisions of the AERA Act. The warning, issued on November 7, comes after the Adani group had raised charges for charter flightsat Ahmedabad Airport during the ongoing ICC World Cup. Airlines had complained against this extra levy.The regulator has warned of “stringent punitive action” against airport operators not complying with the rules and “directed” them “to desist from resorting to such practices (mandating availing of optional non-aeronautical services as a pre- requisite for providing aeronautical service), if any.”
“It has been reported to AERA by stakeholders that some airport operators (major airports) are imposing/levying charges for non-aeronautical services (like Elite Meet and Greet Service), which are otherwise an optional service for charter/aircraft operators, and making them a pre-requisite, for availing aeronautical services in respect of charter flights. Making such non-aeronautical charges mandatory for availing aeronautical services tantamounts to altering the aeronautical charges, thus violating the provisions of AERA Act, 2008,” the order issued by AERA says.
Comments have been sought from the Adani Group and are awaited.
“It is hereby clarified that Section 2(a) of the AERA Act, 2008, explicitly defines aeronautical services and does not entail availing any non aeronautical service (viz, Elite Meet and Greet Service), as a mandatory pre-requisite, for providing aeronautical services (viz, operating the aircraft charter at the airport). Airport operator(s) resorting to such practices (mandating the availing of optional non-aeronautical service as a pre-requisite for providing aeronautical service), if any, are in clear violation of the AERA Act, 2008,” it adds.
According to the tariff list issued by Ahmedabad airport in September, the airport levied a minimum of Rs 265,000 as general aviation charges for any charter flight carrying more than 15 passengers. Above that, it would charge Rs 17,667 per passenger. The airport also levied extra charges on special flights operated during IPL at Rs 6,000 per passenger. These charges are over and above the landing and parking charges.
Airlines had finalised charter agreements with based on previous charges. The imposition of these new last minute ones had to be borne by airlines. It is learnt the Adani Group said AERA nod is needed for aeronautical charges while the extra fees levied to cover extra expenses incurred for the enhanced flight movement were non-aero charges for which the regulator’s nod is not required.

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