London: In a move to encourage flights in 90 small towns of the country, the government is thinking of waiving off various charges. In place of the charges, the government will impose cess on the passengers. Indications for possible action in this regard have already been given by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.

Singh said that there is enough connectivity between bigger cities, but there is no connectivity for smaller towns. Because of a plethora of charges, like the airport fee and navigation charges etc, airlines have been reluctant in starting flights to smaller towns. The government has taken the issue seriously. The government is thinking of doing away with these charges.

Ajit said that these charges go a long way in increasing the running cost of airlines. The charges constitute almost 9 percent of the total cost. But the withdrawal of many charges will eventually increase load on the airport authority. To avoid the burden, the domestic passengers will be imposed a cess of Rs 50. This cess will go towards building up a corpus of Rs 400 crore. The corpus will be used to subsidize the airlines making flights to smaller towns. The move will encourage airlines to fly to smaller towns.

The Minister said that there are almost 90 two-tier and three-tier cities in the country for which there are limited or no flights. Airport authorities want to improve infrastructure in these towns but end up getting no support from the state governments. A case in point is the Uttar Pradesh government which has shown extreme reluctance in parting with land for the development of the civil enclave airport in Agra, Meerut and Jhansi.

However, government has taken many steps for increasing air traffic to smaller towns in the past. After the Jet-Etihad bilateral deal, weekly seats were increased. Apart from that, the objective behind allowing overseas aviation companies is also the same. Operations of AirAisa and Tata JV are soon going to start their operations in India. It is believed that AirAsia will be primarily promoting low-cost airlines to smaller towns.

Warning from DGCA

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has warned airlines against increasing complaints of delay in flights. According to DGCA, the airlines should ensure timely operations of all the flights. The airlines failing to comply will not be given time slot in next schedule.

According to the new rules of DGCA, airlines needs to get the schedule cleared 30 days in advance. Along with that, the airlines are instructed to follow the schedule strictly. The regulator said that airlines failing to follow the time slot may get their next schedule cancelled.


Latest News from Business News Desk