International Flights Latest News: Air travel may be slightly costlier from next month as the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday decided to charge a higher aviation security fee, or ASF, from domestic as well as international passengers from September 1. Also Read - International Flights: Saudi Arabia Suspends Flights to/From These Countries Amid Rising COVID Cases | Know Here

Airlines collect the ASF from passengers at the time of booking flight tickets and the amount then goes to the government. The fee is used by the central government to fund the security arrangement at airports across the country. Also Read - Domestic Flights: Fly to Darbhanga From Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru Soon at Just Rs 3,799

As a result, ASF for domestic passengers will be increased to Rs 160 from Rs 150, while the fee for international flyers will be raised to 5.2 USD instead of 4.85 USD from September. Also Read - International Flights: Now Indians Can Fly to Japan, UK, Canada And 10 Other Countries | Who is Allowed & Who is Not? Read Detailed SOPs

This is the second year in a row the government has increased the aviation fee. Last year, the ministry had announced that domestic passengers would be charged Rs 150 instead of Rs 130 as the ASF and international passengers would have to pay 4.85 USD instead of USD 3.25 as the ASF from July 1, 2019.

Aviation is among the worst-hit sectors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Air travel was completely shut for more than two months since the nationwide lockdown in March. Although domestic flights resumed from May 25, the average occupancy rate has been around just 50-60 per cent.

Meanwhile, international commercial flights continue to be suspended, barring special repatriation flights in certain air bubbles – the USA, the UK, France, Germany, the UAE, Qatar and Maldives – under the Vande Bharat Mission.

Earlier this week, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that India was establishing more bilateral air bubble arrangements with 13 countries.

With PTI inputs