With a decision on allowing foreign airlines to pick up 49 per cent stake in Indian carriers still in a limbo, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Monday hoped a “political consensus” would prevail on the issue.

“We are in talks with various political parties over the issue (allowing foreign carriers to pick up stake). We hope that a political consensus prevails soon,” Mr. Singh told reporters here.

Asked about the opposition by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on the issue, he said, “She has neither said no, nor yes on the issue.”

He said he would travel to Kolkata on September 14 en route to Kharagpur for the 75th anniversary of the premier engineering institution IIT, where he studied. He, however, did not elaborate whether he would meet Ms. Banerjee on the issue.

He said no fresh note was being moved by his Ministry on allowing foreign airlines to pick up stake in domestic carriers.

On the high prices of aviation turbine fuel, Singh said he has written to the Oil Ministry on declaring aviation turbine fuel a notified product to reduce the burden of fuel costs on the airlines.

Recently, Indian airlines raised the fuel surcharge on air tickets citing high ATF prices.

Earlier inaugurating the 42nd General Assembly of the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Association, he said India was moving ahead in the area of aviation safety using modern and latest technologies.

The Assembly, which is being organised by CNS Officers’ Guild and attended by around 200 delegates from 40 countries, would discuss issues relating to the ways to make air travel more safe and efficient.

The delegates are primarily engineers connected with communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management systems and technical personnel of the air navigation services.

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