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Aviation minister wants states to reduce ATF tax

Aviation minister wants states to reduce ATF tax

BENGALURU: Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said he has written to all the chief ministers including Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah to reduce taxes on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and remove impediments that have dampened the prospects of the aviation industry.

The sales tax on ATF is as high as 30% in some states, making it difficult for airline operators who incur over 40% of operational costs from jet fuel. Karnataka imposes a sales tax of 28% on ATF, one of the highest in the country. "We are requesting the state governments to become aviation friendly. Taxes are required, but taxing to death is not required," he said in Bengaluru on Sunday, at an event to flag off city-based Air Pegasus' maiden commercial flight service to Hubballi and Thiruvananthapuram.

Raju said some states had responded to the Centre's call to reduce. "Those states have been a spurt in aviation activities," he said.

He said taxes on maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities too needed to be rationalized to make it an attractive proposition for local players. "The aviation ministry has requested the finance ministry to remove MRO activity from the service tax regime for at least ten years," he said.

Raju said there has been inordinate delays in starting operations of the $100-million MRO facility in Nagpur, a joint initiative of Air India and Boeing to earn revenues for the loss-making national carrier. It was to become operational in April this year.

In response to a question on the status of work at Gulbarga airport, Raju said the Airports Authority of India could take up the pending work. Regional Airport Holdings International (RAHI), which was doing the project, has seen a falling out between its joint venture partners IL&FS Transportation Networks and Comet Infra Developments leading to cessation of work.

Raju said the aviation ministry would soon unveil a policy to promote connectivity between smaller airports, especially those within a region.

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Theft cases at Delhi's IGI Airport increased in 2014

Theft cases at Delhi's IGI Airport increased in 2014

The number of theft cases reported at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here rose to 67 last year compared to only 14 in 2013, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma, in a written reply, said that 67 theft cases were reported at the IGI Airport in 2014 compared to 14 in 2013.

In 2012, 24 theft cases were reported at the airport while in the first three months of this year, their number stood at 19, the minister said.

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