FARES RISE AS AIRPORT TAX GOES UP

By: Kabeer Yousuf

MUSCAT: Airline fares have shot up from March 1 as the carriers have started passing the increased airport tax to the passengers. The tax increase was introduced by the Oman Airport Management Company (OAMC) SAOC. The OAMC has some months ago notified the airlines of an upward revision of the present airport tax from RO 5 to RO 8 for all international passengers travelling on and after March 1 from Muscat and Salalah. However, infants under the age of 2 have been exempted from the tax.

“We have informed all our agencies and passengers of the hike in fares and the agents have started collecting the same on the new bookings. The increase in tax is irrespective of date of issue of tickets, hence if the revised tax amount RO 8 has not been collected initially, then the difference of RO 3 is chargeable to the passengers,” a spokesperson from the Air India Express told the Observer.

The airlines has urged passengers to contact their travel agents or Air India-Air India Express Office in CBD Area to avoid inconvenience at the airport check-in counters. “We have already started collecting the additional tax amount of RO 3 from March 1”, Joe Rajadurai, Country Manager, Qatar Airways, said, adding that this additional charge is applicable to all irrespective of the date of bookings. “This tax rise is applicable to anyone using Muscat and Salalah airports no matter when they have booked the ticket”.

“The additional RO 3 is automatically added to the ticket fare by the system itself and we have started charging the passengers from March 1”, Latheef Parakkott, Sales Manager, Gulf Air, said.

“We have already started applying the new tax to the bookings and all those who have booked tickets some two months back are bound to pay the additional charges. If the charges are not collected, they have to pay at the airport while check in,” Cashio Vettom, Senior Divisional Manager, Khimji House of Travel, said. “The new fee hike is another burden on the low-income groups who travel in more than two years’ interval. I am sure it will not be suitable for them whereas the baggage allowance remains the same”, an aviation expert told the Observer.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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