At the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, flight tickets are going to be cheaper than what they used to be, as the airport authorities have slashed the user development fee (UDF) at the airport. With this, flight tickets from September 16 will be cheaper by Rs 1,137 for international bookings, and domestic bookings will cost Rs 245 lesser per ticket.
The new UDFs set by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA), the nodal agency of air tariffs in India, are Rs 400 for international tickets and Rs 100 for domestic bookings, Currently, UDF for international flights are as high as Rs 1,537 while that of domestic flights are Rs 384.
However, as flight fares are dynamic, users may not feel the difference distinctly.
The AERA has also planned that the UDF will again be raised gradually post April 1, 2019 and April 1, 2020. In 2019, the UDF for international flights will be Rs 558 and that of domestic bookings will be Rs 139. From 2020, the same for international flights will be Rs 716 and domestic flights will be Rs 179 which is still lower than the present rates.
The decision to reduce the UDF was in the offing since June. The airport authorities and the state government had initially lobbied and cited that this money was required for constructing the second terminal.
The airport is owned 54% by Fairfax, 20% by Siemens and 13% each by the state and central government.
Activists, however, are of the opinion that the fees should have come down much earlier and accused the airport management of being non-transparent.
“This was due since April, 2016 and the UDF was fixed anticipating the passenger and cargo growth rate to be around 10%. But in actuality, the airport usage had grown exponentially. The total money collected through UDF has crossed Rs 300 crore. For the last two and a half years, the airport was avoiding a discussion on this,” Sanjeev Dhyamanavar, an urban transport expert said.
The airport was recently named second among the top 20 fastest-growing major airports in the world. Having added 4.18 million passengers during the first six months of 2018, the BLR Airport is now the second fastest-growing airport in the world by actual passenger numbers.
In August, the airport said that 26.9 million passengers have used the airport in FY 2017-18 achieving a growth of 32.9% in the first quarter compared to the same period of the previous year.
The quarter also witnessed cargo operations scaling a record 97,486 metric tonnes of Cargo was processed in three months, representing 16.6% more than 83,584 metric tonnes handled in the first three months of FY 2017