Indian carriers likely losses $ 1.5 billion in 2008: IATA

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New Delhi, Sep 24 (UNI) In a stinging criticism of ''India's slow decision making'', International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General Giovani Bisignani today said the Indian carriers could post 1.5 billion dollars in losses in 2008 unless the Government reduced aviation fuel costs, improved infrastructure, adopted global standards and set up a regulatory authority.

''Aviation is a fast-changing industry that is fueling much of the Indian economic success story. But the crisis is highlighting that India's decision making is too slow,'' Mr Bisignani told reporters after the CII-organised interactive session.

''It's a wake-up call for the Finance Minister,'' he said.

Pointing out that global crisis resulting from high oil prices and declining traffic was hitting India hard, he said: ''Indian carriers could post 1.5 billion dollars in losses in 2008, the largest outside the US.'' ''Urgent action is needed to help Indian carriers weather the perfect storm of high costs and falling demand,'' he added.

Lamenting that India was the most expensive places on the planet to buy jet fuel, he said expensive ATF, high excise duty, steep user development charges by airport operators, and sales taxes of up to 30 per cent charged by States resulted in a cost structure that cannot support a competitive industry.

''Removing excise tax, implementing a standard 4 per cent sales tax on domestic fuel and greater transparency in overall policy are urgently needed,'' he said.

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