A delegation of Airlines operators, under the banner of “Federation of Indian Airlines” (FIA), representing India’s leading Airlines including Jet Airways, Indigo, Spice Jet and Go Air, called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh here today. They sought Government’s intervention to incorporate some of their concerns while finalizing the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) being prepared by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation. They said that this was essential to avoid discrimination against them and provide them an equal level-playing field with the foreign and new Airlines which had started operations in India.
Prominent among those who accompanied the delegation were Shri Aditya Ghosh, President of Indigo, Dr Narayan Hariharan, Senior Vice President of Jet Airways, Shri Ajab Singh, CMD of Spice Jet and Shri Jeh Wadia, Managing Director of Go Airlines.
In a memorandum submitted to the Minister, the Airline operators demanded that they should also be kept on board as stakeholders during the consultations before finalizing the new policy. They complained that while no other country in the world allows substantial ownership and effective control of its Airlines to be taken over by foreign Airlines, India has permitted some airlines to operate despite being effectively controlled by their foreign parent.
The memorandum claimed that the “Federation of Indian Airlines” represents 90% of the Indian Air industry and therefore their views deserve to be heard before finalizing any policy. They also expressed reservation against the proposal for auctioning of bilateral rights on the ground that no country in the world auctions its sovereign right to others. The memorandum also drew attention to the fact that while, for the already operating domestic Airlines, the condition laid down by the Civil Aviation Ministry is to serve for at least 5 years and own at least 20 aircrafts before applying for rights to fly abroad, the new policy is said to exempt the new Airlines from this obligation which will amount to injustice towards the already operating Airlines.
The memorandum also referred to the proposed clause relating to the availability of seats for a healthy and balanced growth, including the backward and remotely connected areas, where these existing airlines have been operating, but the newly entering airlines may not be expected to fulfil this requirement. As far as the sector-wise benefits, the already operating Airlines from India would be at disadvantage, because it is they who came forward to operate in sensitive areas including J&K and Northeast.
Dr Jitendra Singh assured that their concerns would be put up before the Ministry of Civil Aviation.