Access Charges For 'Security'

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The folks who run Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport say new fees charged for access to business aircraft are all about security. On March 8, the airport stopped aircraft owners from being able to drive to their aircraft in their own vehicles. They must now pay 10,000 Indian rupees (about $220) for a 160-yard ride from the airport gate in a Mercedes. It's only $180 in a Toyota Camry. The bizjet owners have also been hit with a $110 minimum fee to hang out in the VIP lounge and $55 an hour after the first two hours. Mint quoted an unnamed spokesman for Çelebi NAS Airport Services India Pvt. Ltd as saying the fees address security concerns. "In the general aviation area, we are addressing some non-compliances and introducing processes to ensure standardization and enhance airside safety in line with Directorate General of Civil Aviation guidelines," the spokesperson is quoted as saying.

Not surprisingly, the people who keep their planes aren't buying that argument. "The new norms are just to make money," an unnamed source reportedly from one of the companies using the airport is quoted as saying. The publication reported that the drivers and vehicles used by executives to get to their planes had already passed security clearances and the new process is not only inconvenient, it threatens the security of the private conversations conducted by the execs.