Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has hiked air security fee (ASF), making air travel costlier, from April 1. While the rise in ASF for domestic passengers is of ₹40, for international passengers, the rise is of ₹114.38.
ASF is one of the components of air tickets which is used to fund the security arrangements across the country. "Aviation Security Fee for domestic passengers will be levied at the rate of ₹200 per embarking passenger. Aviation Security Fee for international passengers will be levied at the rate of US$ 12 or equivalent Indian Rupees embarking passenger. The new rates will be effective on tickets issued on or after April 1, 2021," stated the DGCA order dated March 19.
The Central Industrial Security Force takes care of the security at most airports in the country under the ministry of civil aviation.
The ASF rates have been revised after around six months . In September 2020, the ASF for domestic flyers had been increased by ₹10 (to ₹160). For international passengers, it was increased to US$ 5.20 from US$ 4.85.
This comes at a time the Indian aviation has been severely affected due to Covid-19 pandemic and the international sector remains closed since May last year. Though the domestic sector reopened on May 25, 2020, the flight capacity remains around 80%. Moreover, even though domestic air travel is struggling to meet pre-Covid level, the government increased the lower limit of the airfare band by 35% within a month. The government introduced the fare bands while reopening domestic travel last year with pocket-friendly airfares in order to encourage more people to travel.