Struggling Airlines Believe Delhi Among Costliest Airports

Airlines, foreign and domestic, consider Delhi among the costliest airports in the world and the most expensive one in Asia.

The only airport known to be levying UDF on incoming passengers, airline officials look at the matter rather warily. “Such high charges prevent traffic from growing and thus make it difficult for Delhi to compete with nearby Asian airports like Dubai or Kuala Lumpur in becoming a big regional hub. It’s high time the government intervened,” said an airline official.

With the recent Kingfisher debacle and the Air India burden, it is but clear that the government will have to improve the cost environment for airlines for their benefit.

“Kingfisher and Air India may be suffering from mismanagement and lack of proper business model, but even airlines believed to be run professionally are struggling to survive. The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) in India alone is enough to kill an airline,” admitted a senior official.

The government has allowed airlines to import jet fuel and use oil companies’ infrastructure, but these steps haven’t gone very far. Aviation minister Ajit Singh has yet again asked the finance ministry to put ATF in the declared goods category so that it attracts a uniform low rate of sales tax across all states.

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