Mangaluru: The journey is more important than the destination. It is a very well-known fact that airports are the fundamental component for the economic growth of a nation. Airports allow the economy and society to flourish and develop. To do so, airports need funds to develop themselves to enhance the holistic passenger experience.
In this connection, Mangaluru International Airport Limited had moved The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) seeking revision in aeronautical tariff for a control period of 5 years from April 1, 2021, up to March 31, 2026. MIAL had pitched for revision of airport charges including user development fee (UDF) from passengers flying in and out of this coastal city to give them the best-in-class experience.
This move will not only aid the ongoing expansion but also help with identified new investments, which are necessary for the safety, security, passenger convenience and optimal utilisation of the airport.
The airport has seen no major capital improvement and expansion since 2009. Also, it has been over 12 years since the last tariff revision for the airport, which happened in September 2010. The revision of the charges would be compensated by the user experience of a world-class airport. A case in the example here is various PPP airports such as Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru.
UDF at Indian airports has traditionally been levied on departing passengers, barring for a brief period at Delhi’s IGIA over a decade back when arriving flyers also had to pay this charge. And the outcome is known to one and all, seen and witnessed too as IGIA prides itself in being the best airport in India and Central Asia for the past three consecutive years as adjudged by Skytrax World Airport Awards. This award is considered one of the highest honours in the aviation and airport industry.
New tariff from February 1
AERA in its order has also specified February 1 as the effect date for the new charges. In the order, AERA has also mentioned charges for each of the subsequent financial years, that is, FY 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26.
In addition to the Rs. 300 Crore expansion works inherited from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Mangaluru International Airport Limited is planning additional Capex of over Rs. 500 Crore over the 5 years to meet compliance, essential safety and security, requirements. The investments planned by Mangaluru International Airport Limited will help cater to the forecasted demand of the traffic.
Mangaluru International Airport Limited is making concerted efforts to connect the city to the rest of India by promoting new routes and new destinations in partnership with its stakeholders. With the modernisation of the airport underway, the proposed developmental projects, including re-carpeting of the runway, and construction of a new integrated cargo terminal, are estimated to cost over Rs. 800 Crore.
The tariff-fixing body had sought remarks from airlines, passenger associations and enterprise jet operators to make the right decision in the larger interest of passenger safety and experience.