Govt Not to Bale out Pvt Airlines, Says Patel

Reacting to private airlines united decision to go on strike suspending operations starting August 18 if government does help them cut costs, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has said that government would not bail them out.

Advising the private carriers to withdraw their strike call on August 18, Patel said, “Passengers interest would be safeguarded and DGCA would take action if needed.”

He said that Air India would add more flights to mitigate inconvenience to passengers. However, it is not known if Paramount Airways will join its private sector peers in the strike.

The minister said that the ATF tax was an issue even before the private carriers started operations. Painting a desperate picture of their situation, industry lobby body Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) said unless the government helps them by lowering taxes on jet fuel and bringing down airport charges, their survival is in doubt.

But the strike threat by Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir, which between them carry about one lakh passengers daily, was interpreted as a pressure tactic by a senior official in the civil aviation ministry.

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