Taking a step further at encouraging import of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), the government has decided to allow private firms or airlines to use public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) facilities like refuelling terminal and storages at Chennai and Kolkata airports.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting convened by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Pulok Chatterjee at a recent meeting held to discuss the issue of open access to ATF facilities of OMCs at the airports. Till now the OMCs have refused to share their facilities with the private firms or airlines and have raised the issue of user charges for extending such a facility. Currently open access to ATF facilities exists at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore airports.

It was earlier planned that open access would be provided at Chennai, Kolkata, Goa and Mumbai airports by March 2013. However, the target date now stands shifted to December 2014/March 2015.

It was decided during the meeting at PMO, which was also attended by the Petroleum Secretary, G.C. Chaturvedi, that open access would be provided at Chennai and Kolkata airports by March 2013. At present, the airport authorities levy land lease and throughput charges on oil PSUs. Under open access system, both public and private firms can sell fuel by paying for the infrastructure and hydrant facilities.

The government had in February conceded to demands of domestic airlines and allowed them to import aviation turbine fuel (ATF) directly. But one of the airlines permitted so far have made much headway in importing fuel as refuelling and

other infrastructure at most airports is still owned and operated by OMCs. Importing ATF was expected to give airlines a cost benefit of between 5-8 per cent as they would not have to pay high local sales tax or VAT levied by state governments. SpiceJet, Air India and Kingfisher Airlines had received the nod for importing ATF from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

(EOM)

Keywords: ATFRefuellingPSUs

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