The Civil Aviation Ministry has enhanced the rates of aviation security fee (ASF) charged from domestic as well as international passengers from April 1 onwards. The increase comes about six months after the ASF rates were revised.
Rs. 200 Security Fee to be Levied
“ASF for domestic passengers will be levied at the rate of Rs. 200 per embarking passenger,” orders issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) state. “ASF for international passengers will be levied at the rate of US$ 12 or equivalent Indian Rupees embarking passenger,” the order said.
The new rates will be effective on tickets issued on or after April 1, 2021. Airlines include ASF in airfare at the time of booking tickets and the amount so collected is paid to the government. ASF is used to fund the security arrangement at airports across the country. Given security environment and heavy deployment of forces, considerable expenditure in incurred on this account.
The Tribune reported that in September 2020, the ASF for domestic flyers had been increased to Rs. 160 from Rs. 150, while for international passengers it went up to US$ 5.20 from of US$ 4.85. The new rates for international travellers are more than double the existing rate.
Children under the age of 2 years, holders of diplomatic passports, airlines crew on duty, persons travelling on official duty on aircraft operated by the IAF, persons travelling on official duty on United Nations peacekeeping missions, passengers in transit of transfer or those departing from any airport due to involuntary re-routing because of technical problem or weather conditions are exempted from paying ASF.
Airport Security Group
In India, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is responsible for safety at most airports under the regulatory framework of the BCAS in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
CISF formed a special group, which supervises the unit deployed at airports. In addition, every domestic airline has its own group who looks after the aircraft safety, checked baggage screening and associated tasks.
While airports in most parts of the country are facing a high level of threat perception, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had, in 2019, flagged several loopholes in the establishment.
Delays in assessment and procurement of major safety equipment, shortage in the deployment of CISF personnel and non-availability of trained personnel were among issues raised by CAG.