FIA grounds private airlines` August 18 strike plan

Last Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009 - 08:37

New Delhi: Facing the threat of stern
government action, private airlines which carry about one lakh domestic passengers each day tonight called of their strike on August 18 giving relief to air travellers after two more
carriers pulled out of the planned unprecedented stoppage.

The Federation of Indian Airlines(FIA) which gave the strike call last Friday announced the decision in view of the
"agitating public sentiments" and the potential inconvenience to thousands of passengers and the government`s "willingness"
to enter into a dialogue.

Private carriers carry about 80 per
cent of the domestic passenger traffic.

With the government cracking the whip, FIA secretary
general Anil Baijal said in a statement the Federation decided
to put "on hold" its decision to suspend flights on August 18
to protest the high taxes on jet fuel and airport charges.

The Federation on behalf of Kingfisher, Jet, Go Air,
Spicejet and Indigo hoped that talks with the government will
lead to redressal of problems faced by the aviation industry.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has
threatened strong action after the FIA gave the strike call.

After budget carrier Indigo yesterday pulled out of the
strike, another budget airline Spicejet today broke ranks and
decided to operate all flights on August 18. MDLR, which is
not a FIA member, said it will operate the flights as
scheduled on the day of strike call. Civil Aviation Minister
Praful Patel has warned of action and favoured a dialogue with
the private carriers, who have said they were "bleeding".

Shortly after the Spicjet announced its withdrawal from the stir, only major players Jet and Kingfisher remained to carry out the strike plans.

The Spicejet announcement came hours after regional player MDLR also said it will not join the stir, a day after
Indigo announced it was pulling out of the strike in the backdrop of the government threatening to crack the whip on the private airlines to protect passengers` interest.

Spicejet will operate full service on Aug 18 and not join the strike call given by the Federation of Indian
Airlines (FIA), its official said tonight. It accounts for about 13 per cent of the overall passenger traffic.

State-owned Air India, which is a FIA member but has decided not to be part of the protest, meanwhile, said it was
gearing up to operate additional flights on August 18 to avoid
possible inconvenience to passengers.

Regional player MDLR Airlines, which is not a FIA member, has written to FIA communicating it would not join the stir.

Before the strike was called off, Spicejet CEO Sanjay Aggarwal said he was optimistic that the talks with the
government would lead to a resolution of the problems.

Full business class Paramount Airways has already announced not to join the strike.

"IndiGo appreciates the sentiments expressed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation that it understands the problems faced by the Indian aviation industry and that we should all
engage in a dialogue with the ministry," IndiGo Airlines
President Aditya Ghosh said last night after his carrier
decided not to join the stir.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, August 3, 2009 - 08:37

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