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Private airlines seek entry barriers
BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi |
June 16, 2004 12:01 IST
Private airlines on Tuesday sought greater protection from the government in the form of entry barriers in the domestic aviation sector.
In a meeting with Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, representatives from various domestic private airlines called for an increase in paid up capital for the new entrants in the sector to Rs 250 crore (Rs 2.5 billion) from the present Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million), a minimum fleet size and not to allow foreign airlines to pick up equity in domestic carriers.
According to sources, while Jet Airways and Air Sahara also sought stringent norms to keep non-serious players out of the arena, low cost carrier Deccan Aviation took a different position.
"We oppose entry level barriers as this move will harm the growing aviation industry in the country," deputy chairman of Deccan Aviation GR Gopinath said.
The representatives of private airlines met the minister in relation with a new aviation policy that the government is striving to put in place before the year is over.
"This is part of the ongoing discussions that we will be having with the aviation companies before we come up with a new aviation policy," Patel said.
The meeting with the representatives was called by Patel to invite suggestions about the framing of a new policy. Patel also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to brief him on the new policy.
In the area of overseas flying rights, private airlines wanted the government to give permission to fly all major global destinations including the Gulf.
They also said operators with proven past record and ability and commitment to start operations should only be given the permission to fly abroad.
Besides Gopinath, others who attended the meeting were chief executive officer of Jet Airways Woldgang Prok Schauer and Air Sahara CEO U K Bose.
In the area of airport privatisation, the domestic airlines also asked the government to allow the domestic carriers to pick up to 10 per cent equity in airports. They also sought the ground handling in airports.
According to sources, airlines have also called upon the government to allow them to hedge fuel prices and import ATF directly.The domestic airlines also want the government to reduce various charges at airports to ensure price-service quality.