The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has requested India to defer the proposed hike in Aviation Security Fee (ASF) rates, that is levied on embarking passengers, from Thursday, April 1.
IATA in a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister (Independent Charge) Hardeep Singh Puri and Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola pointed out that after three hikes in quick succession, ASF rate per domestic passenger will 54% from Rs 130 before July 2019 to Rs 200 (from April 1). And, ASF per international outbound passenger will rise 370% from $3.25 before July 2019 to $12 (from April 1).
IATA For Consultations
“The latest round of ASF rate increases are being implemented without the necessary consultation, or any rate increase justifications provided to users. Even the previous round of ASF rate increase (effective September 2020) was implemented when the aviation industry and passenger demand was reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic… Taking into account GST, the ASF rate for domestic and international passengers (from April 1) are in fact Rs 236 and $14.16 respectively,” Conrad Clifford, IATA regional VP (Asia Pacific), has written in a letter to Union aviation minister H S Puri and aviation secretary P S Kharola on Tuesday.
Biggest Challenge of History: IATA
The Times of India reported that IATA represents just less than 300 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic. “The aviation industry is facing the biggest challenge of its history… COVID-19 has devastated the air transport industry and any such costs escalation in these uncertain times will be detrimental to our collective recovery efforts,” Mr. Clifford’s letter said.
It added that it was worthwhile to note that various other governments and service providers are freezing or reducing charges in response to the current crisis to facilitate a quicker recovery of traffic. “IATA would respectfully request the government of India to consider delaying or suspending the planned increase in ASF rates effective April 1, 2021,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, IATA said on Wednesday a digital travel pass for COVID-19 test results and vaccine certificates would be launched on the Apple platform in mid-April.
The digital travel pass, currently in the testing phase, had been planned to be launched by the end of March.
IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle-East, Kamil Alawadhi said it was expected to launch on the Apple platform around April 15, and later for the Android platform.
“But the application will only achieve its success once airlines, different countries, airports adopt it,” Mr. Alawadhi said.
UK-based carrier Virgin Atlantic said last week that it would trial the IATA App on its London-Barbados sector from April 16. Barbados has said it will accept the pass at its border, one of the first countries to accept a digital pass instead of paper documentation.
IATA has said its travel pass will help speed up check-ins.