‘Fares should remain at current level'

HYDERABAD: The Federation of Indian Airlines, the apex body of various carriers, has decided to represent to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to drop the move to levy 10 per cent service tax on domestic air travel, as also the move to hike excise duty on crude oil.

No decision

This decision was taken at a meeting of the chief executive officers of various airlines held here as part of ‘India Aviation-2010,' which began on Wednesday. However, no decision could be taken on whether to hike fares in the near future.

Talking to journalists later, IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said a decision will be taken after representing the matter to the Finance Minister.

He said fares should remain at the current level. Whenever fares were hiked, the demand fell in the past, he pointed out.

Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya and Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal said the fares might have to be hiked and that they were evaluating the impact of the service tax proposal in the budget.

Air India Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav said it had to be seen as to how much of the budget proposal could be absorbed or else fares would have to be increased.

Paramount Airways managing director M.Thiagarajan said his airline would be forced to pass on the 10 per cent levy to the customer. He urged the government to consider rolling it back.

The hike in excise duty on crude oil would definitely lead to increased fares. As Confederation of Indian Industry Aviation Committee chairman, he would take up the issue with the Finance Ministry.

The Federation of Indian Airlines also wants Aviation Turbine Fuel declared notified goods so that it attracts uniform sales tax of 4 per cent throughout the country.