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April 26, 2012

Ajit Singh justifies decision to hike user development charges at Delhi airport

     New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Thursday said the government cannot interfere with the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority's (AERA) decision to hike user development charges at New Delhi Airport by 346 percent for next two years from May 15. "The AERA (Airports Economic Regulatory Authority) is a judicial authority. They hike after consulting everybody. They had to revise it in 2009. They decide it for five years. They have to recover five years' tax in two years. That could be one of the reasons for the steep hike. The ministry can't interfere in it," he said. Singh further said Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) could be allowed in the sector only after discussions with the allies. "It can be decided only after discussions with allies. Discussions are continuing with allies," he said. The newly introduced User Development Fee (UDF) at the Delhi airport seems to be upsetting many. Passengers and airlines will now have to pay 346 percent more on what they have been paying to the airport operator--the GMR Group--along with its consortium. As per the airports regulator order, the UDF for international travel would be Rs. 845.50 for outgoing passengers travelling between 2,000 -5,000 kms and Rs. 699.17 for incoming ones. For those travelling beyond 5,000 kms, the UDF would be Rs 1,068 for outgoing and Rs 881.10 for incoming.
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