ET impact: Not informed about increase in charges at Lucknow airport; rolled it back, says Adani Group

The Adani Group today announced to roll back a ten times increase in charges for private jets and international flights at Lucknow airport and said that the group’s consent was not taken to raise charges, which were done by the ground handling company.

Mentioning the media reports by ET, the Adani group said that the ground handler had raised those charges without informing the airport operator and did not adhere to the approval process.

“Bird Worldwide Flight Services (BWFS), the GH (Ground Handling) agency at Lucknow airport revised the charges without informing Adani Airports. The call was taken without our consent and without adhering to the required approval process. Considering this process breach we have directed them to drop the increased charges and refund the collections with immediate effect. We have also advised them to consult AERA for advice on future charges,” the Adani Group said in a statement.

ET had reported on Monday that the new ground handling company at Lucknow airport has raised some charges.

“According to the extant orders/guidelines, Ground Handling (GH) charges are regulated by the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA). The role of the Airport operator (Adani airport in this case) is limited to the selection of the GH agency,” the statement further added.

The statement further explained that the airport operator had no role in this increase.

“Adani selected the GH agencies for the Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports through an open competitive bidding process and awarded the mandate accordingly. After award of work, it is the GH agency’s responsibility to obtain the necessary security and regulatory approvals. The GH agency then enters into agreements with airlines, and other operators for the rates of the various services. The airport operator has no role in this,” the statement further clarified.

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At Lucknow airport, Charges like ‘turnaround charges’ were raised by over ten times for private jets and international flights. Ahmedabad-headquartered Adani Group, which won bids to operate and manage six airports for a period of 50 years in 2019, were likely to increase charges at other five airports too – Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Mangalore and Trivandrum.

From June 1, 2021, charges at Ahmedabad airport had also increased but that has also been rolled back now.

A business jet operator, who did not want to be identified, welcomed the move. “It is a good move. Anyway, the increase was not justified because the improvement in service was not ten times,” he said.

While privatisation of airports have brought in efficiency, it has also led to increase in charges and that has been opposed by the airline bodies. International Air Transport Association and Federation of Indian Airlines have opposed to high charges at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad on various occasions in the past.



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