A hearty congratulations to Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Hyderabad for finally getting operational. Similar congratulations are due to BIAL very soon.
An even heartier and resounding congratulations to the domestic airlines, for showing to RGIA management, what we individual consumers will be unable to — even a monopolistic airport cannot expect to charge unreasonable fees.
The ground handling agents at RGIA, Menzies Aviation and Air India – Singapore Air Terminal Services (AI-SATS), who incidentally are the cargo handling agents at BIAL, wanted to charge airlines 200% of their present costs. Airlines are bleeding losses and rebelled at this move. They outright refused to operate to the new airport. The RGIA management quickly back-tracked and the Government of India allowed airlines to continue to do their own ground handling. Naturally, the royalties due from the two ground handling agents to RGIA, has been slashed from 25% to 5%.
For the airlines, deploying their aircraft to an alternate city is a viable option. There is enough demand across the country. The loss would have been felt by the average citizen of Hyderabad and the management of RGIA.
Airlines have threatened a similar action if BIAL imposes unreasonable charges on them. So the costs will have to be borne by you and me, the individual traveller.
Lest we forget, Menzies and AI-SATS are the cargo handling agents at BIAL. If they have a similar price hike planned for Bangalore, be ready to pay more for everything from computers to cell phones, to fruits.
As Edward R. Murrow put it — “GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK”!!!!