• Govt defends in HC its stand to levy Rs 7500-8500 per flight

    The proposal to levy Rs 7500 to Rs 8500 per flight operated by Indian carriers to create a fund to develop regional airports was defended today by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the Delhi High Court.

    Terming as “misconceived” a plea challenging the scheme, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were further told that the policy would eventually lead to the growth of the civil aviation sector as whole.

    “The government has proposed to take flying to the masses by making them affordable and convenient. For example, if every Indian in the middle class income bracket takes just one flight in a year, it would result in a sale of 35 crore tickets, a big jump from seven crore domestic tickets sold in 2014-15,” the ministry and the DGCA said in a joint affidavit.

    “This will be possible if air fare, especially on the regional routes, are brought down to an affordable level.”

    The reduction in costs will require concessions by the central and state governments and airport operators, the affidavit said.

    The ministry and DGCA’s response came in the backdrop of a plea by Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) which has said that while the scheme allows it to pass on the levy to the passengers, it cannot do so as it is not a fee for which the carriers are rendering any service to the flyers.

    The FIA, which represents scheduled carriers like Indigo, GoAir, Spicejet and Jet Airways, has sought quashing of the October 21 notification inserting the rule for imposing the levy as well as the November 9 order declaring rates of levy and the categories of the scheduled flights on which they would be imposed.  Steve Grogan Authentic Jersey

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