‘Foreign airlines` stake in India will be a disaster`

Government is likely to take a final decision on allowing foreign airlines to pick up stake in Indian carriers in a couple of weeks.

New Delhi: 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.

PTI

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