Private airlines plead for concession



New Delhi, Aug 11: India's private airline operators met Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, demanding reduction in sales tax on jet fuel and airport charges.


The representatives of Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which includes five of India's top private airlines, met Patel to present their demands after they put their August 18 strike "on hold" in view of the inconvenience it could cause to thousands of passengers.

The operators had called off a strike planned for August 18, responding to a government offer to hold talks to see how the ailing industry could tide over its financial woes.

Private airlines said they need the government to reduce taxes on jet fuel to a uniform four percent from the current average rate of 26 percent across various states.

Aviation fuel makes over 40 percent of the operating costs an airline. They also want the government to cut a number of other levies, including airport development and landing and navigational charges.

" The Minister and Secretary of Civil Aviation were sympathetic towards the problems of the industry. They have assured that they will be as helpful as possible and will take up things with the other ministries of government as required. So we have come away on a positive note. Now we have to see what happens over the 4-6 weeks," said Vijay Mallya, Chairman of Kingfisher Airlines.

Private airlines, seen as a symbol of India's economic modernisation, carried about 83 percent of India's 11 million air passengers in the June quarter.


Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com