According to a report by The Economic Times, the government may waive the landing charges at 15 defence airports for aircraft having less than 80 seats. The smaller aircraft help in establishing air connectivity to the regional parts of the country and waiving landing charges may boost the regional connectivity, says the report.
Landing charges is a fee collected by the airports from the airlines depending on the weight of the aircraft. In defence airports that are managed by Indian Air Force, these landing charges are collected by the Defence Ministry.
It has been decided that the Civil Aviation Secretary would formally take up this matter with the Ministry of Defence soon, an unnamed senior government official told the Economic Times.
Another senior government official told PTI, The aircraft, which have less than 80 seats, are helping in ensuring regional connectivity from the cities where these 15 defence airports are located. Therefore, the (civil aviation) ministry thinks that the Defence Ministry should waive landing charges.
Although no stated communication happened between the departments, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed that waiving landing charges is possible.
Currently, two airlines – SpiceJet and IndiGo – have aircraft with less than 80 seats. SpiceJet’s Q400 aircraft and IndiGo’s ATR aircraft come under this seating category. The airlines usually use such smaller planes in regional routes since the number of passengers is low to these destinations.
Indian Air Force primarily uses the 15 airports as air base. A part of these 15 airports are classified as ‘Civil Enclave’ and are handed over to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for commercial operations.