New Bangalore airport take off likely to be delayed

Tuesday, 29 April 2008, 05:57 Hrs
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New Delhi: The flight operations from the new airport in Bangalore are expected to be further delayed as contentious issues like user development fee are yet to be resolved, an aviation official said.

The stakeholders of the 25 billion airport - the ministry of civil aviation, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Karnataka government and the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) - will meet here Tuesday following a Karnataka high court order.

The court asked them to re-look and re-negotiate the concessions agreement signed between the airport developer, BIAL, and the government.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will review the meeting of the stakeholders and look into various issues.

The closure of the existing HAL airport and levy of user development fee by the new Bangalore airport are expected to come up for discussion.

The concession agreement with the aviation ministry allows BIAL to charge the airport user fee of 675 on domestic travelers and 955 on international travelers. User groups have questioned this levy. They have also filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against it in the Karnataka high court.

Also, the government has made it clear to the stakeholders that they would have to compromise on the concession agreement, said the official.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would issue a licence to the airport only after the stakeholders reach a decision on the issues, the official said.

The 40-day postponement to May 11 to launch the airport operations has cost BIAL 400 million. BIAL had earlier planned to start operations March 30.
Source: IANS
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