• APAI terms govt’s decision to charge levy to fund RCP as”regressive & unwarranted”

    Apprehending a “spiralling” effect on airfares in view of the government’s decision to charge a levy up to Rs 8,500 per flight on major routes to fund the ambitious regional air connectivity, fliers body (APAI) has termed the move as “regressive and unwarranted”.

    The Regional Connectivity Plan (RCP) packaged as a scheme “to make flying a reality for the small town common man” is more a welfare and inclusive measure, which, based on its objective, should be spearheaded by the Central and state governments, Air Passenger Association of India (APAI), said.

    Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey had last week announced government’s decision to levy up to Rs 8,500 per flight on major routes to fund the regional air connectivity scheme from December 1.

    With the levy, that would be collected from the airlines for each domestic departure to major routes, the government estimates to have Rs 400 crore for Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF), Choubey said.

    “Another 20 per cent (funding) will come from state governments. We are roughly looking at around Rs 500 crore per year available in the kitty,” he had said.

    “The reported statement of the Civil Aviation secretary that the government would collect Rs 400 crore from air carriers annually by charging additional levy on scheduled flights between major cities starting from December 1, 2016, to fund RCF is most unfortunate since APAI had vehemently opposed the imposition of regressive levy at all times,” APAI President D Sudhakara Reddy said. Nicklas Lidstrom Jersey

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