Why samosa costs Rs 150 and dosa comes for Rs 300 at airports
What irritates passengers is that even packaged food and beverages are sold at rates way more than the maximum retail price
Rs 150 for a samosa that would normally cost no more than Rs 20. Rs 150 also for a cup of tea/coffee that would have otherwise been priced at Rs 20-25. Rs 300 for a humble dosa that is worth no more than Rs 90-100 elsewhere.
Admittedly, catching a bite at an airport is sure to burn a big hole in your pocket. But often passengers have no other option, especially when they have to spend long hours at airports due to cancelled/delayed/missed flights. This leaves many of them fuming.
Retailers operating establishments in major airports attribute the exorbitant rates of food items to high airport rentals, high revenue shares charged by private airport operators and high maintenance cost of stocks, according to a Times of India report. The revenue share charged at some of the private-run airports are as high as 25-30%, the report pointed out.
Manufacturing food at airports is indeed a costly affair. Storage and inventory transportation costs are very high given that the inventory has to through many layers of checking. Also, stocks have to be preserved at certain temperatures. This requires costly machinery and equipment.
Moreover, people have to be employed round the clock to ensure the preservation and proper management of stocks. The salaries of the staff working in retail outlets in airports also have to be higher than those in restaurants elsewhere. The staff also need to pass certain quality standards to be employable in airports.
However, what irritates passengers is that even packaged food and beverages are sold at rates way more than the maximum retail price (MRP). Thus a bottle of mineral water is sold for Rs 50, which is over three times its market price. For a packet of potato chips, passengers have to shell out double the amount they pay outside.
Some outlets even resort to curtailing the quantity of food in order to cover expenses on rent and logistics, much to the disappointment of the passengers.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages logistics and infrastructure at airports, pointed out that in view of passenger complaints, tea and snacks are available at MRP at certain counters in government-run airports. These counters are in operation in 90 airports across the country with the exception of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, which are run by private players.
Unlike food and beverages, passengers usually don't have to pay exorbitant amounts for items like apparel, jewellery, books, etc at airports. This can be explained in terms of the high cost of processing food and beverages and maintaining stocks. Other items hardly call for such heavy expenditure and are hence their prices are still affordable.
According to Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) -- A GMR Group company -- that runs the Delhi airport, packaged food and beverages are sold at MRP, while the prices of other items are fixed according to the brand, variety and quantity sold at various outlets. Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) -- part of GVK -- that operates the Mumbai airport, pointed out that vending machines at the airport provide packaged snacks at MRP.