PM meets airline heads, gives no assurance
Posted on: 02:50 PM IST Nov 26, 2011
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met the chiefs of major domestic airlines to take stock of the financial health of the sector. The meeting took place on Saturday morning.
sources say that four issues were discussed between the Prime Minister and the airlines chiefs which included high tax on ATF, new ground handling policy, unutilised bilateral and high airport taxes.
Sources added that the Prime Minister did not assure airlines any financial help, he only took note of their concerns.
Kingfisher's CEO Sanjay Agarwal, Jet Airways' Naresh Goyal and Rahul Bhatia of IndiGo were present at Saturday's meeting. Kingfisher Chairman Vijaya Mallya abstained from the meet.
Airlines have been complaining about high fuel cost and unreasonable taxes levied on the sector against the backdrop of the financial crisis of Kingfisher Airlines. Jet fuel prices have increased by 30 per cent since December 2010.
Three major airlines - Jet, SpiceJet and Kingfisher have reported heavy losses in the second quarter.
Currently only 49 per cent Foreign Direct Investment is allowed in Indian carriers by non-airline players. The policy prohibits foreign airlines from directly investing due to security reasons.
Sources said the airlines are looking for a bailout, which is tough for the government to grant them as the Opposition will oppose it.