Government to charge passengers higher aviation security fee from September

The Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to charge higher aviation security fees (ASF) from domestic as well as international passengers from September 1, senior government officials have said. Making air travel slightly costlier, the officials said the aviation security fee for domestic flyers will be increased to ₹ 160 from ₹ 150 starting next month, and international passengers will pay 5.2 USD instead of 4.85 USD as the aviation security fee from September 1.

Airlines collect the aviation security fee from passengers when they book their tickets and then give it to the government. The aviation security fee is used to fund the security arrangement at airports across the country. The ministry had increased the aviation security fee last year too. On June 7, 2019, the ministry said domestic passengers would be charged ₹ 150 instead of ₹ 130 as the aviation security fee and international passengers would be charged 4.85 USD instead of USD 3.25 as the aviation security fee from July 1, 2019.

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the coronavirus pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, leave-without-pay and firing of employees in order to conserve cash. After a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, India resumed domestic passenger flights on May 25. However, the average occupancy rate in Indian domestic flights has been around just 50-60 per cent since May 25. Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.