Airports may decrease landing, parking charges

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New Delhi, Jun 24 (UNI) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today said airports could decrease landing and parking charges for aircraft as a ''form of relief'' for the loss-making aviation industry.

''The Ministry has not initiated any talks as yet with the airport authorities but it is going to be looked into,'' Mr Patel said in his keynote address at the Business Standard Open Sky Summit 2008.

Asked whether the Government was offering any cash bail-out package to the industry, he said: ''Unlike other countries, in India it is very difficult for the Government to write a cheque to the companies.'' About high sales tax on ATF, Mr Patel said States cannot treat ATF as a cash cow because it could be a short-term vision.

The States, he said, had been told that If air connectivity was affected due to high sales tax on ATF, a lot of the aspects of growth would also be affected.

''Our good intentions have not been understood by the states so far,'' he added.

A meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on VAT, to be held in Srinagar yesterday to take up the issue of ATF, had been deferred.

On the greenfield airport policy, Mr Patel said the single window clearance had made it easier for private players to invest in such airports.

''In the coming years we see at least some new initiatives taking place, and some initial licenses being given for start-ups.'' UNI YJ SR HS1730

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