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Flight tickets may get costlier as govt plans hike in passenger service fee

Passenger service fee charged on fight tickets is likely to go up as the government is planning an increase in security charge component in the said fee

New Delhi: The passenger service fee (PSF) charged on fight tickets is likely to go up marginally as the government is planning an increase in security and facilitation charges.
The government after a high-level meeting of Union ministers Kiren Rijiju (MoS, home) and Jayant Sinha (MoS, civil aviation), and national security adviser Ajit Doval asked the civil aviation ministry to find out ways to recover the cost of security arrangements at airports.
The home ministry has also been told to find out what will be the total annual cost of providing security at 143 functional airports in the country, a government functionary said.
The reports from the two ministries are expected to come within two months, following which a decision will be taken to increase passenger service fee.
Each air passenger in India has to pay Rs130 as security charge, part of the Rs225 charged as passenger service fee by airlines on flight tickets.
The security charge of Rs130 has not been increased in 15 years. Now, since the cost of providing security at airports has gone up manifold, the amount in all likelihood will go up, the functionary said.
Currently, there is no unanimity on who will foot the Rs800 crore bill raised by the home ministry for providing CISF security at airports across the country.
While the civil aviation ministry argued that since security is a sovereign function, the money should come from the consolidated fund of the Government of India. The finance ministry, however, is said to have suggested that the burden should be passed on to the air travellers. The home ministry disagreed with the finance ministry’s suggestion, contending it would lead to hike in air fares.
Out of the 98 functional airports in the country, 59 are under the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) cover. Among them, 26 airports, including those in New Delhi and Mumbai, are in the hyper-sensitive category. Of these hyper-sensitive airports, 18 are under the CISF cover, while six like Srinagar and Imphal are being guarded by the CRPF, the state police or other paramilitary forces.
Under the sensitive category, there are 56 airports out of which only 37 are under the CISF cover.
The list of airports has gone up to 143 with the inclusion of 45 small airports after the launch of regional connectivity scheme, named ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’ (UDAN). ‘Udan’ is considered to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project as he wants to ensure that more people fly even from small cities.