Parliament passes bill to allow AERA to bid out new airports at pre-determined tariff structure

Responding to the debate, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said there is a lot of misinformation that the government has embarked upon a privatisation drive of airports to benefit a particular party and rejected the charge as 'not correct'.

Press Trust of India August 02, 2019 23:50:19 IST
Parliament passes bill to allow AERA to bid out new airports at pre-determined tariff structure
  • Parliament passed a Bill to allow the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) to bid out any new airport at a pre-determined tariff structure

  • The bill was passed by Lok Sabha by a voice vote

  • Responding to the debate, Hardeep Puri said the bill should not be seen as one aimed at privatising airports

New Delhi: Parliament on Friday passed a bill to allow the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) to bid out any new airport at a pre-determined tariff structure.

The bill was passed by Lok Sabha by a voice vote. Rajya Sabha had given its nod to the bill earlier. Currently, major airports with an annual capacity to handle one-and-a-half million passengers come under the purview of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA).

Now, with the amendments getting parliamentary nod, the definition of major airports would be changed to any aerodrome which has or is designated to have annual passenger capacity of three-and-a-half millions.

Parliament passes bill to allow AERA to bid out new airports at predetermined tariff structure

File image of Parliament. PTI

Responding to the debate, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said there is a lot of misinformation that the government has embarked upon a privatisation drive of airports to benefit a particular party and rejected the charge as "not correct".

He said the bill should not be seen as one aimed at privatising airports. Reality of the matter is that only six airports under its purview will have only six percent air traffic.

Puri said, currently, airports with an annual capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers are described as major airports and come under the purview of Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA).

"So, the limited purpose of this amendment is to substitute the figure 1.5 million which defined a major airport, which reflected 1.3 percent of the passenger traffic at that point of time, by the figure 3.5 million which accurately reflects the state of air traffic in the country today," the minister said.

He noted that currently, the number of airports which are carrying high traffic has increased considerably and the government is hoping to ease the cumbersome process of fixing tariffs which the regulator had to undertake every five years.

The AERA is a regulator that has the powers to set the tariffs charged at airports. The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) (Amendment) Bill was last approved by the Cabinet during the Modi government's first tenure in December 2017. However, it could not be passed in Parliament.

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