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Cabinet to discuss plan on airline industry regulator
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 Cabinet to discuss plan on airline industry regulator
[ Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:43:45 pmTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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NEW DELHI: The booming airline industry is finally set to have its own independent regulator. The Union cabinet is expected to take up on Thursday the proposal to establish Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) - which will deal with issues of pricing and competition in airports, particularly in view of the entry of private companies in the airport arena.

The regulator - which will be independent of the existing Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that deals with the technical aspects of aviation - will also be entrusted with the task of prescribing pricing of user charges, operations of airlines as well as airports, both state-owned and private.

The AERA will also prescribe the quantum of cess to be charged from air travellers, which will be used to develop state-owned airports across the country.

"The proposal, if cleared by the Cabinet, will be tabled in the Parliament in the coming Monsoon session,"a senior government official said.

"The need for a regulator for the aviation sector has been necessitated in view of the rapid growth the industry is witnessing.

This regulator will be incharge of fixing the various airport tarrifs - including navigation and landing charges for airlines.

It will also fix the maximum limits for hiking these charges in future,"the source added.Indian airports have been charging the highest tariffs as landing and navigation fee in the region - even higher than airports in Dubai and Singapore.

Airlines have been seeking rationalisation of these charges, a plea which is expected to get a hearing with the AERA.

The regulatory body would seek to address the concerns of the airlines, airports and other operators or consumers on various aviation-related issues and ensure a level-playing field for all players.

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