NEW DELHI: With an airports’ association proposing a new levy on passengers in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, global airlines’ grouping IATA on Friday said India’s private aerodromes need to do a “reality check” and not have a self-serving interest in protecting profits.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents around 290 airlines, including Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and SpiceJet.

Citing increase in operational expenses, the Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) has suggested introduction of a new levy on passengers.

On Friday, IATA Country Director (India) Amitabh Khosla said India’s private airports need to do a reality check on their suggestion to impose a new levy at a time when passenger demand is plummeting on account of the coronavirus outbreak.

“What is needed now are relief measures to help the aviation industry, and eventually when the situation is resolved, to look at ways to grow demand, instead of a self-serving interest in protecting profits without recognising what is happening in the world around us.

“It is imperative that we focus on reducing the overall cost of travel and work collectively to identify mutual cost saving opportunities,” he said in a statement.

In a letter to the civil aviation ministry dated March 11, APAO flagged various problems in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, including that of “less sales at the Food and Beverage, and retail outlets” at aerodromes.

Among others, it has proposed “allowing levying of a nominal passenger facilitation charge as part of airline fares to cover increased operating expenses being incurred by the operators”.

APAO represents operators of five airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Cochin.

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