Airlines oppose Bangalore airport’s move that’s likely to benefit AirAsia India
Indian carriers will protest against Bangalore airport’s recent decision to give discounts to airlines which use it as their base, senior executives said.
Indian carriers will protest against Bangalore airport’s recent decision to give discounts to airlines which use it as their base, senior executives at two airlines said. Bangalore International Airport Ltd’s (BIAL) move will likely benefit AirAsia India, which is using the airport as its operational hub. Executives at Indian carriers said it was an unfair advantage to AirAsia India given the fact that no other airport does that in the country.
“We are taking up the issue strongly with the Bangalore airport,” said a SpiceJet spokesman. “By the measure of Bangalore airport, Jet Airways should be getting sops in Mumbai and Air India in Delhi. Also, all carriers give so many more passengers to Bangalore airport than AirAsia does,” an executive from another airline said. A BIAL spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The move by local operators is the latest against the Malaysian carrier’s Indian venture, which faced furious lobbying from Indian rivals before it got its flying permit in May. AirAsia, known the world over for its frugal cost structure and rock-bottom fares, has already been thwarted in its plans to charge for all checked-in baggage, a step that would add to its ancillary revenue, a key contributor to its net profit worldwide.
Director General of Civil Aviation has asked the airline to allow a minimum of 15 kilogram of checked-in luggage free, as most other airlines do in the country. Earlier this month, the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority allowed BIAL to more than halve landing and housing charges and waive nightparking charges for carriers which use it as a hub and park most of their planes there.
The discounts are also applicable to the international operations of the so-called ‘home carrier’. AirAsia is seen as benefiting from the move as it is shifting a chunk of its operations to Bangalore from Chennai. The carrier, India’s latest, has started three flights from Bangalore — to Goa, Chennai and Kochi. Some of its senior employees have already shifted. Airport charges typically constitute about 6% of total expenses and 8% of operating expenses of a low-fare carrier.
No other carrier in India uses Bangalore as base. The Bangalore airport recently increased user development fees to Rs 1,368 for international passengers and Rs 342 for domestic flyers. To be sure, AirAsia will have to give the airport one million passengers before it earns the benefits.