To boost connectivity to remote areas in the country, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to scrap most airport charges at tier II and tier III cities for scheduled airlines. Airlines will be exempted from landing charges, parking charges and navigation charges. The government has also decided to do away with the passenger service fee, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said.
Such charges account for 6-8 per cent of costs at other airports. Technically, airlines will fly free of all charges to remote cities. And the government will not mandate any airlines to fly particular airport pairs, he said. Airlines are also given incentives to fly to tier II and tier III airports with sales tax levied at 4 per cent for jet fuel at these facilities.
They need to pay 4 per cent to 25 per cent elsewhere. Airlines are mandated to fly to such areas, according to guidelines issued in 1994 with a view to ensuring better connectivity.
According to these guidelines, all scheduled airlines need to deploy at least 10 per cent of their trunk-route capacity on flights to less well-served areas, or so-called category II routes, such as the North-East, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep. Trunk, or category I, routes connect the country’s biggest cities such as Mumbai and Delhi or Chennai and Bangalore.