Passengers who have flown to or from Delhi airport after 7 July can seek refunds from airlines for excess airport development fee charged on tickets, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

The move follows the Supreme Court vacating a stay granted by the Delhi high court to Delhi International Airport Ltd, a unit of GMR Infrastructure Ltd, allowing the airports regulator to implement revised tariffs. The apex court vacated the high court stay on a plea by Air India.

Till 7 July, airlines were mandated to charge Rs578-1,335 as user development fee (UDF) from passengers towards GMR Infrastructure-run Delhi airport. This has now been slashed to Rs10 and Rs45 for domestic and international flights, respectively.

After that, airports regulator Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (Aera) ruled that passengers be refunded. “Aera has decided for refund of excess UDF collected from passengers travelling after 7.7.2017 from/to IGI airport Delhi," Director General of Civil Aviation B.S. Bhullar said in a Tuesday order reviewed by Mint.

Domestic passengers must claim refunds in 45 days and international travellers in 60 days. “After the due date, the balance unclaimed amount duly verified by chartered accountant may be remitted to DIAL by airlines which shall be adjusted while determining the aeronautical tariff of IGI Airport for the next control period," the order said.

Further, in respect of the passengers who booked the ticket on or before 7 July but are yet to commence the travel, airlines shall refund the excess amount if any without waiting for such claim from the passenger.

Until now, both departing and arriving passengers had to pay UDF. Now, only those departing from Delhi airport will have to pay the fee.

The reduction in fee will lead to cheaper fares, which will boost demand. “The drop in UDF at Delhi airport is a welcome step for passengers traversing via the national capital," said Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer at travel portal Yatra.com. “This translates to a reduction of almost 10-12% in fares and will definitely give an impetus to the growing demand and air traffic in the capital."

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