Airline representatives said they were yet to receive written communication from the Airports Authority of India
Levying of User Development Fee (UDF) at Chennai airport may have been deferred but on Thursday, a few airlines continued to collect it.
Airline representatives said they were yet to receive a written communication from the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
On Wednesday, Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said UDF would not be levied at Chennai airport on domestic passengers, till March 31. Levy of UDF on international passengers was deferred indefinitely.
The minister made the announcement in response to a supplementary question in the Lok Sabha.
The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority had mandated that domestic travellers be charged UDF of Rs. 166 and international travellers, Rs. 667.
“We continued to collect the fee on Thursday as we haven’t received official intimation yet. Unless, we receive some written communication, we may not be able to stop collecting the fee,” said an official of Air India.
Some passengers at the airport on Thursday were not sure if UDF was levied on their ticket. “I’m not sure if I was charged UDF. My booking mentions just the air fare and tax. The fee is probably included in the tax component,” said a Madurai-bound passenger.
An AAI official said airlines were bound to refund the money as UDF had been temporarily withdrawn.
“Airlines have an opaque fare structure where passengers don’t even know what they are paying for. Airlines ought to refund the money after this announcement,” he said. However, some airline officials indicated it may not be possible to refund the money as it was included in the ticket fare.
“Once we receive official intimation, we will take a decision on refunding UDF if all airlines reach a consensus on the issue. It involves a lot of procedures and is a tedious process,” said an official of Jet Airways.
Airport director H.S. Suresh said, “The message has already been circulated and they should have received the formal intimation on Thursday. So, I don’t know why they have levied UDF.”