The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008, whereby the Airports Authority would not determine tariff structures in the case of privatised airports as that was part of the bid offered at the time of the privatisation.
In all, 16 airports would come under the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA), while the others would continue to be under the Civil Aviation Ministry.
After introducing the Bill, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in 2006 the total number of passengers at Indian airports was about 1.5 million per annum. Therefore, a regulatory mechanism was needed for fixing tariffs. In 2009, only two major airports had traffic of 1.5 million passengers per annum. In 2011, the number went up to 16 and in 2016, there were 24 such airports.
“Today, the passenger throughput at the Airport Authority of India airports is in the vicinity of 344.69 million. So, the limited purpose of this amendment is to substitute the figure 1.5 million, which defined a major airport, which reflected 1.3% of passenger traffic at that point of time, with the figure 3.5 million which accurately reflects the state of traffic today,” he said.
The Bill was first approved in December 2017, but could not be passed.