Delhi charges agents before facility finished

REGULATORS have given Delhi International Airport (DIAL) a slap on the wrist when they caught it imposing ‘special fees’ to cargo agents and carriers for a cargo sorting service that was not yet operational.

The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (Aera) found the DIAL had imposed the fees earlier in the year in an attempt to recoup debts incurred for its new cargo handling facility, currently still under construction.

Under the old system, agents delivered and sorted their cargo into different areas for specific airlines. When the new facility is operational in January 2011, DIAL will organise the cargo for a fee. However, the airport began charging for the service this year.

Arvind Naik, President of India’s Domestic Air Cargo Agents Association, said: “We are not against charges [but] give us a facility and charge rationally.”

DIAL claims that the fee was already in place but wrapped up into other costs. Aera says otherwise.

“The IGI Airport New Delhi is a major airport and therefore imposition of any new charges in respect of cargo facility or changes in rates of any existing charge without the previous approval of the Authority would be without any authority in law,” said Sandeep Prakash, secretary of Aera.

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