No bailout package for airlines: Govt

DGCA warns of legal action against private carriers


Praful Patel: “The government reiterates its advice to private airlines against suspending operations.”

The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked the private carriers to refund money to the passengers “within 48 hours” if flights scheduled for August 18 were cancelled.

The private players seemed to go soft on Saturday compared to their belligerent stand on Friday. The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), their umbrella body, said it would be happy to enter into discussions with the government and reconsider its unanimous decision to suspend operations if difficulties were addressed.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel warned the carriers in a statement that “appropriate action” would be taken if flight schedules were disrupted. “The government reiterates its advice to private airlines against suspending operations,” he said. The DGCA could take action under its regulatory powers to protect passengers' interests.

The minister said the “government cannot be expected to extend financial help to loss-making private carriers.” State taxes on aviation turbine fuel had been an issue even before several present carriers came into existence.

The state-run Air India would introduce additional flights on August  18 to minimise inconvenience to the travelling public. The DGCA also sent a notice to the private airlines referring to the provisions in the law that required them to take steps in that event.

The regulatory body asked them to confirm within 48 hours that they would abide by the rules that “require the carriers” to inform the DGCA about the cancellation of flights and immediate refund of tickets to passengers.

The FIA said the protest was not even intended to cause deliberate inconvenience to passengers but was only seeking a  fair treatment. 

The FIA said, citing high incidence of taxation on jet fuel and airport charges, that in the difficult operating environment, the airlines “have been asking for creation of a level-playing field by reducing these costs.”

Meanwhile in Hubli, Captain G R Gopinath, Chairman and Managing Director of Deccan Cargo and Express Logistics, on Saturday accused the private airlines of using pressure tactics to get the bailout package from the Centre.

DH News Service

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