Airport operators wanted to levy a fee on tickets to cover expenses for screening passengers for coronavirus
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has asked Indian airport operators to do a 'reality check' on their suggestion to levy a fee on tickets to cover expenses to screen passengers for coronavirus.
“India's private airports need to do a reality check on their suggestion to impose a new levy at a time when passenger demand is plummeting on account of the COVID-19 outbreak," said Amitabh Khosla, Country Director - India, IATA.
The comment came after the operators, under the aegis of Association of Private Operators (APAO), said that they were facing cash flow pressures as airlines cancelled flights post-coronavirus outbreak.
The APAO has said that while airlines can deploy aircraft on other routes, airports have limited options.
"For privately-held airports, the situation is even worse as they do not benefit from relief measures but are obliged to continue paying concession fee," said APAO.
But IATA differed. The leading industry body said that instead of a levy on tickets, what are needed are relief measures to help the industry overall.
"What is needed now are relief measures to help the aviation industry, and eventually when the situation is resolved to look at ways to grow demand, instead of a self-serving interest in protecting profits without recognizing what is happening in the world around us," said Khosla.
"It is imperative that we focus on reducing the overall cost of travel and work collectively to identify mutual cost saving opportunities," he added.
The war of words reflect an increasingly turbulent time for the industry. Fares have plummet by 70 percent, year-on-year, and airlines have seen bookings drop by up to 20 percent within days.