'Foreign airlines' stake in Ind carriers will be a disaster'

Kingfisher flight
New Delhi, Nov 17: BJP and CPI(M) on Thursday lambasted the government for considering allowing foreign airlines to invest in Indian carriers, saying it would bring "disaster" to the Indian aviation industry.

"The decision is being taken in the backdrop of a few airline companies doing very badly. But such a move will completely annihilate the domestic civil aviation industry vis-a-vis foreign carriers," BJP leader and former Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here.

Government is likely to take a final decision on allowing foreign airlines to pick up stake in Indian carriers in a couple of weeks, with Civil Aviation Ministry proposing a 24 per cent cap as against 26 per cent recommended by the Industry Ministry.

Maintaining that the move to allow foreign airlines was "fraught with lot of danger", Rudy said, "It is a calculated move by government to possibly benefit a few airlines. But, at the end of the day, it is going to bring disaster to our airlines and their network."

Noting that BJP would oppose any such move, Rudy said such a decision would virtually end up in cartelisation by foreign airlines "who would plan and chalk out strategy to drain out our passengers to their international hubs. There will be no Air India, no Jet Airways and no Kingfisher then."

In the same vein, senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the prevailing policy of not allowing foreign carriers to invest in India was a decision taken by government itself.

"Government had said this was necessary in the backdrop of international trends where there have been large-scale takeovers and mergers between international airlines.

"So, government took this decision to keep the Indian carriers Indian. Now they are just reverting their own position," Yechury, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee which covers civil aviation, said.


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