Pvt carriers still booking tickets for Aug 18

Last Updated: Sunday, August 2, 2009 - 21:00

New Delhi: Under attack from the government, the agitating private airlines who are demanding a bailout package, have kept bookings open for customers who want to fly on Aug 18, the day they have threatened to go on strike.

None of the airlines have asked travel agents not to book for Aug 18, according to Travel Agents Association of India President Rajji Rai.

"No airline has formally informed us to stop booking for Aug 18 so far," Rai told a news agency.

Jet Airways, Kingfisher and SpiceJet continue to sell tickets through their websites as well.

When the news agency contacted the Jet Airways call centre, the representative of the airline made a mention of the "strike".

"There is a strike by private airlines on Aug 18. If you want, I can book the ticket for Aug 18 but, if need be, you will have to change the date of your travel for which there will be no charge," the Jet Airways representative said.

Kingfisher and SpiceJet, however, continued to sell tickets through their call centres as well. Low cost carrier IndiGo too continued bookings, which has already announced to operate its flights on August 18.

All major private airlines, under the aegis of their industry body Federation of Indian Airlines, had decided to suspend domestic operations on August 18 to protest high fuel prices and airport charges.

Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya had even threatened to suspend flights "indefinitely" if the demands of the aviation industry were not met by the government.

Both Mallya and Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal had said the suspension on August 18 is not a strike or ultimatum to the government.

Following the announcement of the airlines, the government has warned of punitive action against the carriers if they do not call off their decision and invited them for a dialogue on the issue.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said yesterday that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation could take "appropriate action" under its regulatory powers to protect passengers` interest.

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First Published: Sunday, August 2, 2009 - 21:00

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