Aviation sector gets Patel’s soft corner, not bailout

Aviation sector gets Patel’s soft corner, not bailout

New Delhi: A day after private airlines called off their planned strike, the government on Monday ruled out any financial package for them but promised to do whatever possible to address the “reasonable" grievances of the aviation industry.

“Their cannot be any financial bailout for any of the private airlines. Any issue, which is reasonable and fair, the government will try its best and to do whatever best is possible," said civil aviation minister Praful Patel.

He was responding to questions on private carriers calling off their 18 August strike against high taxes on jet fuel and airport charges.

The minister said the government understood the difficulties faced by the airline industry and would try to help the sector which was important for the economic development of the country.

Patel, however, disapproved of their earlier decision to suspend flight operations, saying causing inconvenience to passengers was “not acceptable".

Maintaining that Air India was also not getting a bailout package, Patel said, “The government is the owner and we have to do whatever is necessary. After all, it is our own airline. But to say that even Air India is getting money from the government exchequer, will not be correct."

The Federation of Indian Airlines, the umbrella body of the industry, had on 2 August called off its proposed action after facing threat of stern government action.