India's civil aviation ministry has appointed career civil servant Yashwant S. Bhave as the first chairman of its Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA).

Bhave has served in several senior roles in the country's administrative service over the last 37 years, and he was last Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs.

His appointment takes effect immediately and "AERA is likely to commence its regulatory functions within the next few months," says the ministry.

India created the agency to determine the tariffs for aeronautical services at all major airports and fix development fees and passenger service fees. It will also monitor the standards relating to quality, continuity and reliability of services at the airports, says the ministry.

India has embarked on a plan to modernise many of its existing airports and build dozens of new ones to cater to a growing market for air travel.

"AERA is expected play a crucial role in economic well being of the vital airport infrastructure sector in the country," adds the ministry, which points out that this was an especially important at during the economic downturn.

"It will have to ensure that the airport charges are calibrated so as not to unnecessarily burden the airlines and passengers, and at the same time are remunerative enough for airport operators who are investing heavily in upgradation and modernisation."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news