Muna Sunuwar, My Republica, July 31, 2019
KATHMANDU: A total of Rs 10.25 billion has been collected from international flights passengers in the Aviation Development Fund (ADF) over the past five years.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) collected the fund from over 9.96 million passengers traveling to and from the country.
According to the authority, 87% of the money collected in the ADF has already been used as of FY2018/19. “Of the total collection, Rs 8.88 billion has been used to repay interest and principal amount of loans taken for infrastructure development at Tribhuvan International Airport,” Trilochan Poudyal, the information officer of the CAAN, told Republica.
Date provided by the CAAN shows Rs 2.56 billion was collected in the ADF in FY2018/19, up from Rs 2.14 billion in the previous fiscal year. Similarly, Rs 2.01 billion, Rs 1.67 billion and Rs 1.86 billion was collected in the ADF in FY 2016/17, FY2015/16 and FY2014/15, respectively.
The CAAN spent Rs 4.05 billion from the ADF in the last fiscal year, while it spent Rs 3.84 billion from the ADF in FY2017/18. The aviation regulator had spent Rs 561 million from the ADF in FY 2016/17.
The Ministry of Finance had allowed CAAN to levy Rs 1,000 on passengers of international flights for five years, starting FY2014/15. Though the special permission to collect ADF expired in FY2018/19, the ministry on July 18 allowed the CAAN to collect ADF for another five years i.e. till FY 2023/24.
“The CAAN collects Rs 1,000 per passengers as ADF as specified in Schedule 20 (a) of Airport Service Charge Regulations,” Poudyal added.
According to the ADF Directive, passengers should pay the charge to airline companies while purchasing tickets. The concerned air service operator should submit the details of the amount paid by the air passengers and the details of passengers paying such charge to the Tribhuvan International Airport Civil Aviation Office (TIA CAO) or other office as designated by the CAAN prior to the flight, the directive states. They will have to deposit the amount thus collected to TIA CAO or other designated agencies with 21 days of the receipt of invoice.
“The CAAN paid Rs 881 million as income tax to the government from the fund in 2017/18,” he added.
The CAAN has been using the money collected in ADF for installation of escalator and baggage handling system, lifting system, central air conditioning system, X-ray machine, and construction of remote parking bay as well as staff quarter, among others, according to Poudyal.