No airline should refuse carrying a coffin: Patel

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New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been asked to issue instructions to all airlines not to refuse carrying a coffin on board, except on technical grounds.

''The DGCA has been directed to issue a civil aviation requirement (CAR) to ensure that no airline refuses such a request, unless on technical grounds,'' Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told a meeting of the consultative committee attached to his ministry.

Mr Patel was responding to a member who drew attention to reports about a private airline refusing to carry a coffin on board.

The Minister said the growth of the aviation sector had led to competitive fares, and more choice of airlines and better connectivity for the passengers, but the increase in the jet fuel prices was a reason for worry.

''The effects may not be visible immediately but the entire sector is suffering. In a short period, the airlines have revised their fares about eight times. There has been an impact on the volume of passengers carried. Load factor has dropped for most airlines,'' he added.

Mr Patel said only some States had lowered the sales tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to 4 per cent, on his advise.

He said he had also taken up the issue of high ATF prices with the Centre, but without much success.

''The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Petroleum also have their constraints,'' he added.

Besides ATF, the members discussed other issues such as air connectivity, services of the Public Sector carriers, facilities at airports and Ombudsman for private airlines.

UNI YJ SR AS1930

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