Oil regulator for freeing airport facilities from PSU hold

Oil regulator for freeing airport facilities from PSU hold

New Delhi: Oil regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has asked for freeing of aviation fuelling facilities at airports from the public sector stranglehold by allowing use of existing infrastructure by all players including private companies.

PNGRB chairman L Mansingh has written to Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla for bringing aviation fuelling infrastructure under common carrier or open access principles to allow usage of facilities of IOC, BPCL and HPCL by new entrants like Reliance and Essar.

“The Board is examining re-organising the logistics for supply of aviation fuel to ensure that no supplier has a stranglehold on any portion of the infrastructure that would hinder the emergence of competition," he said in his 10 October letter.

The PNGRB Act provides for common carrier principle only for oil, gas pipelines and city gas distribution networks.

“Despite the absence of ‘common carrier’ concept for airport infrastructure for fuelling aircrafts, the Board can examine this issue for fostering fair trade and competition," he said. But the same would require examination of related issued like owner’s right to first use, availability of excess capacity and methodology for fixation of access charges.

“Taking a cue for the awards for new airports by Airport Authority of India at Hyderabad and Bangalore for setting up aviation fuelling infrastructure under common carrier or open access principles, AAI should also be simultaneously directed to pursue extension of similar principles to cover other airports," he said.

Mansingh said AAI should be directed to extend the common carrier or open access principle, wherein private companies can use PSU infrastructure upon paying a fee, to all airports that have been privatized or are being privatized or undergoing modernization.

This would allow access to aviation fuelling infrastructure for all players meeting the specified conditions and eligibility criteria, he said.

He asked Civil Aviation Secretary to include specific enabling provisions in the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) bill, that was introduced in the Parliament in September 2007, for extending common carrier principle to aviation fuelling facilities at airports.

“In the meanwhile, in order for the air carriers and travellers to benefit from competition amongst suppliers of ATF, your Ministry may initiate action to unbundle the common infrastructure for supply of ATF at all airports," he said.