Claiming that the approvals granted to AirAsia India were ‘illegal’, the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) has asked the government to advice the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)not to allow the new no-frill airline to launch its operations, which is set for June 12. “It is our request that the government advise the DGCA not to permit AirAsia India to proceed to fly, that too with merely one aircraft with the sole intent of making the decision (to let them fly) a fait accompli and difficult for the government to review,” the FIA, a grouping of Indian carriers, said in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The letter, also marked to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, was sent on Friday when the airline announced the launch of its maiden flight from Bangalore to Goa on June 12, offering a low fare of just Rs.990, including taxes.
When contacted, the officials of AirAsia India refused to comment on the letter, which came a day after Mr. Raju took over as the new Minister. The FIA said the DGCA had cleared in haste AirAsia India’s flight schedule, on the basis of which the airline decided to launch its operations.
“It is obvious that the actions taken by the previous UPA government and more particularly by the DGCA have been to pre-empt a review of this matter by the new government and to proceed with indecent haste,” the letter signed by FIA Associate Director Ujjwal Dey said.
“While foreign investment needs to be encouraged, the same cannot be at the cost of the domestic industry, which is rightly the position of this government as in the case of FDI in retail,” it said.
The FIA termed as ‘illegal’ the clearances granted to the airline by the Finance Ministry and the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and called the grant of Air Operator’s Permit or the flying licence to it ‘fraudulent’.
It also maintained that FDI by foreign airlines in domestic carriers was meant for existing carriers and not new ones.