In some airports, like Guwahati for example, there is only one restaurant and with the inflated charges for food and beverages, passengers find them unaffordable, limiting their choices severely.
India has over 130 airports across various states. Of these, the government runs about 90 airports, while the rest are owned, co-owned or managed by private companies.
So you have plenty of options when it comes to airports. But fliers have not had many options so far when it comes to the prices of food and drink inside any airport.
While flying itself is an expensive proposition, once you enter the airport even a bottle of water could be rather steeply priced.
Following a spate of complaints by travellers, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has issued a circular to all government-run airports to ensure that water and other snacks are sold at the Maximum Retail Price (MRP).
In a report published by the Hindustan Times, a senior AAI official said, “We have asked airport directors to ask the company that is managing food courts at airports to have a counter where water bottles and sandwiches are sold at MRP. We have also told them to sell tea and coffee at Rs 10. They will also ensure that some cheap snacks, such as samosa, are sold at lesser rates. The concessionaire can have other items at different rates, but there have to be some basic items at reasonable prices.”
The AAI has also invited bids via tenders that have been floated with the intention of setting up these separate food counters at the earliest.
Until now many sellers followed the dual MRP practice, wherein they would inflate the price of certain products at premium locations like malls, airports, and movie theatres.
Putting an end to this practise, the Union Ministry for Consumer Affairs had issued an order last year asking sellers to stop this practice with effect from January 1, 2018, and sell everything at the same MRP as outside the airport.
However, the reality is that some brands can remain very expensive because they are sold only in the airport, and thus have only one MRP – a costly one. Airport counters tend to only stock these types of products.
The new government counters in various airports are looking to tackle this issue directly, by selling cheaply.
Once these separate counters are set up inside airport premises, consumers will be greatly benefitted.
Who doesn’t like a snack during a trip, after all.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)