Parked plane for extra time? Pay fine

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By Mayura Shanbaug

No rollback of penalties of Rs.1,000 to Rs.15,000 per hour on private aircraft for overstaying   

Private jet aircraft that plan to overstay their welcome at the Mumbai International Airport will have to pay MIAL’s increased penalties. “There is no question of any rollback…the penalty charges are here to stay,” an official spokesperson of Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) said while speaking to ADC.

Penalty charges range between Rs.1,000 and Rs.15,000 per hour and are been imposed from July 15. According to MIAL spokesperson, the fine is to discourage unauthorized parking and to ensure safety at the airport. “The aircrafts do not stick to their schedule and overstay causing inconvenience and also become a safety hazard to incoming traffic,” said the spokesperson.

“If they want they can recover the dues from their client who postpone their journey causing the delay,” he suggested.

It is reported that the trigger was a private jet occupying the hangar for over 20 days at the Mumbai airport. The aircraft is owned by a prominent business house with interests in media, packaging, entertainment and infrastructure development. The MIAL levied a parking charge of Rs.6 lakh, including penal charges.

However, according to sources the company had refused to pay.

Mumbai airport has 28 parking bays in which more than 70-90 private aircraft are parked. In 2007, just 30 private jets occupied the same spot. A certificate from the DGCA notifies the parking slots for private jets across all airports. Top corporates like Tata, Reliance and Raymonds park their private jets at the CSIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport). Private taxi operators like Religare Aviation, Deccan Charters and Invision Air among others, also occupy the parking bays.

Given the over-crowding and safety issues cited by MIAL, some of these jets were not allowed to fly out on Sunday till they paid the penalty. Though some private jets have flown out, most have raised objections to the penalty. Aircraft also fly into CSIA for scheduled maintenance.

The Business Aircraft Operator’s Association (BAOA), which comprises private jet owners, has protested vociferously against the penalty. “An aircraft registered in India can be used anywhere in the country and its movement cannot be restricted to limited airports, as this defeats the very purpose of private aircraft,” said Captain Karan Singh, Managing Director, BAOA.

The Association objected to “the outrageously high penalties levied by MIAL on General Aviation aircraft parking, which would have become effective from July 1, but later deferred to July 15. The penalty charges range between Rs.1,000-Rs.15,000 per hour compared to Rs.20 to Rs.70 per metric tonne per hour charged by The Airports Authority of India (AAI) previously.”

The BAOA members said that no airport imposes such penalties on parked jets. “This is the first time that such an illogical penalty is being imposed on us. If any airport has operational requirements or limited parking space, for instance in Goa, the information is provided in advance. In that case, you can fly to Goa, but park the jet elsewhere at another airport,” Capt Singh said.

The BAOA will meet MIAL officials this week to sort out the issue. “We are evaluating all options right now and looking for an amicable solution,” he added.