An appellate tribunal stayed the imposition of penal charges on private jets for overstaying at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Friday.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) started levying penal charges from July on private aircraft in spite of stiff resistance by operators. Many high profile business houses were reportedly forced to pay lakhs of rupees as penalty. After a protest by affected parties, the MIAL extended the imposition of penalty till July 14.
The Business Aircraft Operator’s Association (BAOA), an umbrella body for business jet operators, took up the matter with the appellate tribunal of the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) as it felt that the penalty charges were not only exorbitant, but also illegal as permission wasn’t sought from the AERA, which it said is mandatory as per law.
The BAOA alleged that MIAL had approached AERA seeking permission to levy penal charges. However, the airport authorities started charging the penalty before a decision could be made by the AERA.
Sources said that after hearing from both parties, the appellate tribunal asked airport authorities to maintain status quo and charge only parking rates decided by the Airports Authority of India. The next hearing is scheduled for January 4.
According to officials, there is space only for 26 such aircraft at the airport, which was allotted a decade ago. However, the number and movement of such aircraft has increased since then without any increase in parking space.