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Parliamentary committee recommends UDF withdrawl, re-open HAL and Begumpet

In what is sure to be a shock, to both the BIAL and HIAL consortia, the Deccan Chronicale reports, the parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, on Thursday October 23, recommended immediate withdrawal of user development fees (UDF) being charged by Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports.

It said the private operators had invested only Rs 330 crore and Rs 240 crore at Hyderabad and Bangalore respectively to develop the airports. The rest of the amount came from the AAI, state governments and through debt from financial institutions.

Observing that the government’s policy was to make air travel more affordable, the committee said the UDF imposed on passengers “may be withdrawn immediately and no more UDF may be imposed on passengers in any of the airports.”

The committee has also recommended that the HAL airport in Bangalore, and the Begumpet airport in Hyderabad be used for short-haul domestic flights.

The committee, headed by the CPI(M) leader, Mr Sitaram Yechury, said any future greenfield or brownfield airports should be developed with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) having a majority stake in a joint venture.

What impact this recommendation will have on the pending UDF requests of the consortia at Delhi and Mumbai is also to be considered.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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