New Delhi: The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has been directed to take a call on private airport operators' demand for a tariff hike by January 31 next year.

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal directed the AERA to take a decision in this regard.    
"Time granted to respondent (AERA) to do the needful in this is extended to January 31," said a three-member bench of the tribunal, headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat.

During the proceedings, senior advocate Atul Nanda, representing the AERA, assured the tribunal that the regulator would take a decision on the issue of fixation of tariffs, as demanded by airport operators, by January 31.

The tribunal's directive came in response to a clutch of petitions filed by private airport operators in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Cochin and Hyderabad, who have requested the regulator to consider their plea for a hike in tariff.

Presently, AERA is seeking the views of all airport users, including airlines, on the multi-year tariff proposals of DIAL and MIAL to hike airport charges by 500-600 percent.

A hike in airport charges has been overdue since 2001, but it would depend on the Civil Aviation Ministry's policies, an AERA decision and the views of key stakeholders, including the airlines and passenger associations, whose views were being sought.