In the ongoing arrangement, the landing fees paid by airlines are determined by the weight of an aircraft and not according to the time of its operation
In a bid to reduce congestion at airports during peak hours, the government is looking to impose a surcharge on airlines for operating flights at this time of the day. The proposed move will help enhance airport capacity and avoid flight delays, reports The Hindu quoting Guruprasad Mohapatra, chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI).
An airport typically has four ‘peaks’ in a day, which are approximately 6am-8:30am, 10:30am-12noon, 4pm-6pm and 7pm-9:30pm. In the ongoing arrangement, the landing fees paid by airlines are determined by the weight of an aircraft and not according to the time of its operation.
However, the new proposal suggests to introduce charges for flight operations during peak hours.
According to Mohapatra, “We should not allow congestion to happen during peak hours. There is a large window of non-peak hours that we are persuading airlines to consider.”
Therefore, the AAI wants to encourage use of non-peak hours. “We are considering whether we can introduce charges for flight operations during peak hours. A concept note is being prepared and global models are being studied,” said the official, adding that the move is right now at a proposal stage and a final decision is yet to be taken.
The proposal, which was already discussed with airlines at a meeting as per Mohapatra, has not been welcomed. “The move, if put into effect, is unlikely to change airline behaviour as peak-hour slots are almost impossible to get in large metros such as Mumbai and Delhi. It will become an additional charge on airlines holding peak-hour slots. A high-cost environment where airlines pay high fees for airport infrastructure as well as fuel is counter-productive to the growth of a burgeoning market like India,” a senior official from a domestic carrier told The Hindu.Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport are two of the most congested airports in the country with per hour movement of flights up to 52 and 73 landings and take-offs, respectively, during peak timings.