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Struggling SpiceJet gets yet another relief

Source: PTI
December 16, 2014 19:46 IST
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Meanwhile, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that there was no question of any bail out to the beleaguered carrier

Photograph: Getty ImagesIn yet another relief to the struggling SpiceJet, aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday temporarily removed the 30-day booking restriction on the airline even as the government once again ruled out any succour to the carrier.

"The one-month booking ceiling imposed on SpiceJet has been taken off and the airline allowed to book tickets beyond 30 days till March next year," government sources said.

The DGCA breather to the airline comes a day after SpiceJet's chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor, along with Sun Group CFO S L Narayanan, met Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju and DGCA Prabhat Kumar and sought the government's help to overcome the crisis.

"No financial plan submitted to DGCA today. Objective of meeting was to discuss financial impact of 30-day booking limit on the airline," Kapoor had tweeted yesterday after the meeting.

DGCA had on December 5 withdrawn 186 of SpiceJet's slots and directed it not to take bookings of flights over one month, among other measures following large-scale cancellations by the carrier.

SpiceJet was given a breather yesterday after the state-run Airports Authority of India allowed it some time to clear Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) dues following the airline's promoter Kalanithi Maran giving a personal guarantees to infuse more funds.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that there was no question of any bail out to the beleaguered carrier.

"The government has no intention to give any package to any private operators or player," he told reporters during an interaction.

"But something (solution) is being worked out in the larger interest of aviation industry and the passengers," he said.

The situation in the aviation sector was "a cause of stress", Sharma said. "It is not a good thing that the private players are succumbing..."

The government is discussing "special measures" for the aviation sector, he said, noting, "I assure you that within a very short period of 3-6 months, you will see the positive changes (in the sector) definitely."

The airline has been losing money and Maran, who owns majority stake in the airline, has already brought in about Rs 250 crore (Rs 2.5 billion) in the airline this year but to no avail.

The airline's total liability stands at over Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) and it needs at least Rs 1,400 crore (Rs 14 billion) immediately to keep it off the ground.

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