New Delhi: Civil aviation minister Praful Patel on Monday assured the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), an industry lobby group, that he would recommend setting up of an empowered group of ministers to address the issue of high taxes on jet fuel.
Most members of the group of domestic airline firms had threatened to strike work on 18 August on the issue. The strike was later called off. Fuel accounts for 40% of a carrier’s operational costs. Jet fuel invites taxation by state governments, and could be as high as 30%.
Falling passenger numbers and high fuel costs saw India’s airline firms together post a loss of around $2 billion (Rs9,560 crore) in the fiscal year to 31 March.
Settling issues: Civil aviation minister Praful Patel (right, foreground) at a meeting with (from left) Kingfisher Airlines chairman and MD Vijay Mallya, FIA secretary general Anil Baijal, Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal and Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav in New Delhi on Monday. Vijay Verma / PTI
Patel told a FIA delegation in a meeting that he would make a presentation to the Union cabinet on Thursday and sought inputs from the firms, said two officials present in the meeting who declined to be named. FIA secretary general Anil Baijal declined comments.
Patel also told FIA to take up issues related to airport charges, another of its demands, with the newly established Airports Economic Regulatory Authority.
Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, said after the meeting, which he attended, that he expects a decision in the next six weeks.
Federation members had meet separately at New Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton hotel before meeting Patel, which was also attended by civil aviation secretary Madhavan Nambiar, Air India chief Arvind Jadhav, Jet Airways Ltd chairman Naresh Goyal and SpiceJet Ltd chief executive officer Sanjay Aggarwal, among others, the officials said.