New Delhi: Even as private airlines called off their planned August 18 strike on Sunday night, the government stood firm and ruled out any financial bailout for them.
Talking to reporters, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said, “There is no question of a financial bailout of private airlines.” Reasoning the decision, Patel said that “we are not even bailing out Air India which is owned by the government”.
The minister however said that he will try to help the airlines in every possible way as it is an important sector of the economy. He also acknowledged that the government understands the difficulties faced by the industry.
On Sunday, facing the threat of stern government action, private airlines, which carry about one lakh domestic passengers each day, called off their proposed August 18 strike giving relief to air travellers. The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) called off the strike after two more private carriers pulled out of the planned unprecedented stoppage.
The FIA, which gave the strike call on 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.
The Federation on behalf of Kingfisher Airlines, Jet Airways, Go Air, Spicejet and Indigo hoped that talks with the government will lead to redressal of problems faced by the aviation industry.
After budget carrier Indigo pulled out of the strike on Saturday, another budget airline Spicejet broke ranks last night and decided to operate all flights on August 18. MDLR, which is not a FIA member, said it will operate the flights as per schedule on the day of the strike call.
The private airlines’ operators in India have consistently been demanding a financial bailout by the government in view of the mounting losses.