The Civil Aviation Minister will make a detailed presentation before the Union Cabinet
EGoM may be set up to look into the issues
Private airlines put on hold their strike call
NEW DELHI: Looking for ways to tide over the financial crisis that has affected the civil aviation sector, representatives of private airlines as well as chief of the State-run Air India held detailed discussions with the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, here on Monday.
Coming together under the umbrella of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), the bigwigs of India’s major airlines were closeted in the meeting for more than an hour with Mr. Patel at the Ministry’s headquarters at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan.
“Both the Civil Aviation Minister and the Secretary were sympathetic to our demands. Our discussions were held in a positive and constructive manner. I hope that the government will look at our difficulties and something will come out in the next four to six weeks,” Vijay Mallya who heads Kingfisher Airlines told reporters.
The meeting was attended by Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways, Jeh Wadia of GoAir, Rahul Bhatia and Aditya Ghosh of IndiGo, Sanjay Agrawal of SpiceJet, Arvind Jadhav, Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, and FIA Secretary General Anil Baijal.
Though there was no official word on what transpired at the meeting, sources indicated that the Minister would make a detailed presentation before the Union Cabinet at its meeting scheduled for Thursday. It is likely that an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) may be set up to look into the problems of airlines. Private airlines had put on hold their call for a day-long strike on August 18 owing to agitated public sentiment and the government’s offer of dialogue to look into their problems. The strike also stumbled as SpiceJet and IndiGo declared that they would not participate in the protest action to suspend their flights and favoured talks with the government. All the carriers are protesting against high and irrational rate of sales tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and steep airport charges which, they said, were multiplying their losses. Low volume of passengers and global economic downturn also added to their difficulties.