Air travel is set to get costlier from April 1 as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has hiked the air security fee (ASF). The aviation regulator has increased the ASF for domestic travellers by Rs 40, and for international travellers by Rs 114.38.
ASF makes up one of the components of ticket pricing and is used to fund the security arrangements in airports across the country. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, is responsible for maintaining security at all airports in the country.
A DGCA order had earlier stated that the Aviation Security Fee for domestic passengers will be levied at the rate of Rs 200 per embarking passenger. â€œAviation Security Fee for international passengers will be levied at the rate of US$ 12 or equivalent Indian Rupees per embarking passenger. The new rates will be effective on tickets issued on or after April 1, 2021," the order added.
The following group of people are exempted from paying ASF, which includes children under the age of two years, passengers in transit, transfer, deporting an airport due to involuntary rerouting, diplomatic passport holders, people travelling on official duty on aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force, people on UN peacekeeping mission duty, airline crew on duty.
The ASF was last increased in September 2020 by Rs 10 for domestic flyers, taking the fee to Rs 160, and for international passengers, it was hiked from $4.85 to $5.20.
Like several other sectors, Indian aviation, too, has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and international flights have been virtually non-operational since May last year. While domestic flights resumed from May 25, 2020, the flight capacity remains at around 80%.
Meanwhile, the DGCA on Tuesday asked airport operators to take punitive action by imposing â€˜spot finesâ€™ against passengers violating COVID-19 protocols. Stating that during surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance is not satisfactory, it said: "All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on COVID-19 protocol from the standpoint of wearing face masks properly, covering nose and mouth, as well as maintaining social distance norms within the airport premises are followed scrupulously."