Seeks Prime Minister’s intervention to prevent DGCA from issuing licence to the airline

Continuing its opposition to AirAsia India, domestic airline lobby Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stall the entry of the low-cost airline in India.

In a letter, the FIA has sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to prevent the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) from issuing the Air Operators’ Permit (AOP) to AirAsia India ‘in a hurry’, as the grant of ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) to the new venture was not in conformity with the policy.

Reiterating its stance, the FIA said the policy permitting foreign airlines to invest in airlines applied to operating airlines and not new entrants with new international partners. The Prime Minister has been requested to clarify the correct interpretation of the policy by which AirAsia India was allowed.

The FIA has drawn the attention of the Prime Minister to the issue of interpretation of the meaning of substantial ownership and effective control, prior to grant of AOP.

According to the FIA, AirAsia, with 49 per cent stake in the airline, would assume effective control, which was against national security.

“Effective control has not been considered by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) while approving NOC….and until there is clear determination of substantial ownership and effective control, we submit that the NOC has not been appropriately approved and needs to be considered afresh,” FIA Associate Director Ujjwal Dey said.

The FIA has drawn the attention of the Civil Aviation Ministry and the DGCA to this letter, and asked them not to grant AOP to AirAsia India until there was clarity on the issues raised.

“We submit that the grant of AOP to AirAsia without these issues being determined and that too in such a great hurry, would be against the public interest and public policy.”

It has also written to the Election Commission as any interpretation of the policy now by ministries would violate the model code of conduct.

This letter comes soon after the DGCA rebuffed the FIA and IndiGo, which raised objections. AirAsia India is now awaiting AOP, the final approval to start operation in the summer.

Over 250 people have been hired and the airline is ready to start offering low fares.

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