Maldives to stick with lower airport fee for locals

Government is looking to stick with the lower airport fee set to be introduced for every departing local passenger, a senior minister said Monday.

The 'Bill on Taxation and Levying of Fees for Passengers Departing from International Airports in Maldives' was signed into law by president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom last month.

Despite including locals for the ADC, the parliament compromised to slash the fee to USD12 from every departing local passenger.

The new fee would add to the current airport service charge -- USD25 from foreign passengers and USD12 from locals.

Government had said it would look to revise the law when the parliament reconvenes as the discrimination between foreign and local passengers was in violation of international air transport regulations.

The national economic and youth council chair Ahmed Zuhoor said the government would not revise the law unless its required by international regulations.

"Island Aviation is now engaged in efforts to charge the new fee in accordance with the law. But we're still waiting for an official response. Whether we can proceed with the amounts stipulated in the law. Once we receive an official reply we would know whether we have to amend the law or not," Zuhoor who serves as the minister at the president's office explained.

Island Aviation managing director Abdul Harish said the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) had given the green light to charge the new fee without revision.

IATA had given the necessary approval two days ago, he added.

"With the approval we believe we can proceed with the fees stipulated under the law. We've received the approval in principle," Harish explained.

Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) meanwhile has drafted the required regulation as the archipelago prepares to introduce the new airport fee.

MIRA spokesperson Mohamed Shahid told Avas on Monday that the regulation had been drafted and forwarded to the attorney general for comment.

Government had said the ADF– an estimated MVR565.8 million next year – will be used to set up a “sovereign development fund” as a long-term fiscal reserve to repay debt.