Airport fees double as Development Charge comes into effect

Tourists pictured at VIA. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

The Airport Development Charge imposed on travellers departing from Velana International Airport (VIA) came into effect on May 1, thus increasing the overall fees charged from travellers at the Maldives’ main airport.

An Airport Service Charge (ASC) of USD 12 and USD 25 are already charged from locals and foreigners respectively at VIA. However, with the implementation of Airport Development Charge (ADC), locals and foreigners at VIA will be charged a total of USD 24 and USD 50 respectively.

With the effect of this new law, ASC will also be charged from Gan International Airport and Hanimaadhoo International Airport for the first time. However, ADC is charged only at VIA.

Those exempted from ASC and ADC are children below the age of two years, transit passengers and travellers with Diplomatic Immunity.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom ratified the bill to impose ADC at VIA on December 7 last year, to be brought into effect within four months of implementation. While the original deadline was April 1, Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has not disclosed why the law’s effect was delayed to May 1.

The bill on taxes and fees to be charged from airports in the Maldives submitted to the parliament last year originally proposed to impose an ADC of USD 25 from all passengers that depart from VIA. However, the bill was subsequently altered to charge only USD 12 from locals on the initiative of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s lawmakers.

The new law also states that the airlines of the passengers bear the responsibility of collecting ADC. The airlines will be penalised under the tax act should they fail to pay the ADC to MIRA.

While the government has passed to charge ADC from next year onwards, INIA’s previous operator, GMR Group of India, had also tried to impose the same tax of USD 25 which had been promptly halted by the Civil Court. The proposed charge had sparked much controversy among the public with the majority opposing its implementation as airport development had not been completed at the time it was proposed.

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Source URL: Mihaaru-Business

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