Sandeep Joshi

To regulate tariff, other charges for aeronautical services

NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha on Friday passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERAI) Bill, 2008 to pave the way for an ‘Airport Economic Regulatory Authority’ that would regulate tariff and other charges for the aeronautical services besides monitoring the performance standards of airports.

The Bill also sought to establish an Appellate Tribunal to adjudicate disputes and dispose of appeals and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Replying to the discussion, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the UPA government was committed to providing best services to air travellers and ensure healthy competition in the civil aviation sector. The government would also ensure that there was no cartelisation between airlines.

All efforts were being made to strengthen the national carrier Air India, Mr. Patel said, adding more than Rs.35,000 crore had been spent on purchasing new aircraft and machinery. He said that by 2010, as many as 35 airports in non-metros would become operational.

Ensure discipline

Earlier, BJP MP and the former Civil Aviation Minister, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, blamed the government’s faulty policies for the declining aviation sector and said the regulatory framework was required to ensure discipline in the sector.

Tapan Kumar Sen of the CPI(M) criticised the government for opening the aviation sector to private players and charged that in the name of competition, private sector companies were being given facilities at the cost of national carriers.

K.C. Rao of the Congress said the regulatory authority must have power to look into the non-aeronautical income generated by the companies by developing malls, hotels and residential colonies in land acquired for airports.