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Tribunal: Mumbai airport can now penalise private jets for overstay

The Airport Economic Authority Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal has upheld the Mumbai airport’s decision to penalise private jets and chartered planes for staying beyond 48 hours.

The penalty was approved by the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) in its order last January but the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) moved the tribunal.

BAOA President Rohit Kapur said the body was studying the order and will take a decision on a further plea.

The penalty is Rs 1,000 to 15,000 an hour, depending on the plane type. The penalty is 12-16 times the normal parking rate for non-scheduled or general aviation (chartered) planes. GVK Group-run Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) began levying penalties on private planes from July 2012 leading to protests. MIAL had said penalties were necessary to de-congest itself.

The airport operator said since the introduction of the charge, the number of planes overstaying had dropped. It said the charge was for operational safety and not revenue generation.

BAOA said AERA had given no reasons for its decision and had rubber-stamped MIAL’s proposal. It said it was the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s responsibility to decide on issues of airport safety.

Tribunal Chairman V S Sirpurkar and members Rahul Sarin and Pravin Tripathi ruled AERA had correctly determined the enhanced levy for overstay was an aeronautical charge and followed the process while approving the order.

“The rates fixed for overstay cannot be deemed unreasonable. We find no merit in this appeal and so it is dismissed,” the tribunal said.

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