Union Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said on Wednesday that the government is considering various measures to come to the rescue of airlines sector to help bring down their cost of operations which have taken a hit in recent times.
“Financial health of airlines in general has not been good in the last two quarters because of oil price rise and increased lease rentals due to rupee exchange rate fluctuations. We are keeping a close watch. We are looking at ways to support the airlines and our intention is to bring down the costs and provide relief,” he said, while declining to divulge further details.
The Civil Aviation Secretary was talking to newsmen after inaugurating Rs. 50 crore, one lakh sq.ft interim international departure terminal at the GMR Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad which will serve the needs till the overall airport expansion is complete in a few years.
He also affirmed the Centre’s support to Air India (AI) and committed to its disinvestment, but it has been kept on the backburner till the macroeconomic conditions like fuel prices and exchange rate improve. In the meantime, all necessary steps will be taken to ensure AI remains a viable entity, be competitive and efficient in its operations capability along with safety.
A financial package for AI has been finalised and an announcement could be expected within this month. With regard to airports expansion, Mr. Choubey pointed out that the airlines sector has been growing at an unprecedented 20% rate, which is way ahead of even China, for the past 50 months.