Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA)

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The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) recently cautioned airport operators in India against imposing unapproved tariffs on passengers.

About Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA)

  • AERA is a statutory body constituted under the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
  • Function: The AERA regulates tariffs and other charges (development fee and passenger service fee) for aeronautical services (air traffic management, landing, and parking of aircraft, ground handling services) at major airports.
  • Major airports: The 2008 Act designates an airport as a major airport if it has an annual passenger traffic of at least 15 lakh. An amendment to the act in 2019 increased this threshold to 35 lakh annual passengers.
  • For the remaining airportstariffs are determined by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
  • AERA is an independent economic regulator that aims to create a level playing field, foster healthy competition amongst all major airports, encourage investment in airport facilities, and regulate tariffs for aeronautical services.
  • It was set up keeping in mind that the country needs to have an independent regulator who has transparent rules and can take care of the interests of the service providers as well as those of the consumers.
  • Headquarters: Delhi
  • History:
    • Initially, most of the airports in India were under the ownership and control of the Government of India. 
    • In 1997, the Government of India formulated the Airport Infrastructure Policy, which provided for the private sector’s participation in improving quality, efficiency, and increasing competition.
    • The AAI then performed the role of airports operator as well as the regulator, which resulted in conflict of interest.
    • To ensure that private airport operators do not misuse their monopoly, the need for an independent tariff regulator in the airport sector was felt.
    • Thereafter, the Government of India set up the Naresh Chandra Committee to prepare the road map for the civil aviation sector.
    • The Committee recommended setting up an independent regulatory authority.
    • Consequently, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008 (AERA Act) was passed, which set up AERA. 


Key Facts about Airports Authority of India (AAI)

  • AAI is a statutory body constituted by an Act of Parliament and came into being on 1st April 1995, by merging the erstwhile National Airports Authority and the International Airports Authority of India.
  • It is entrusted with the responsibility of creating, upgrading, maintaining, and managing civil aviation infrastructure both on the ground and in the air space of the country.
  • Main Functions:
    • construction, modification, and management of passenger terminals;
    • development and management of cargo terminals;
    • development and maintenance of apron infrastructure, including runways, parallel taxiways, apron, etc;
    • provision of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance, which includes the provision of DVOR / DME, ILS, ATC radars, visual aids etc;
    • provision of air traffic services;
    • provision of passenger facilities and related amenities at its terminals;


Q1) What is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)?

The DGCA is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation, primarily dealing with safety issues. It is responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards.

Source: AERA warns Indian airport operators against charging unapproved tariffs