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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Indigo's Bhatia alleges govt favouring a select few airlines

PTI  Kolkata, July 22, 2012
First Published: 02:39 IST(22/7/2012) | Last Updated: 02:41 IST(22/7/2012)

Indigo Airlines co-promoter Rahul Bhatia today alleged that the government is "tinkering" with aviation policies for "a select few".

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"Our principle issue is why is the government tinkering with policies for a select few in the industry," Bhatia, Managing Director of InterGlobe Enterprises Group, said while speaking on the success of Indigo here.

Claiming his company knew about "artificial competition" from Air India, he said, "But, what we didn't know and regret is the government's relentless effort to keep inefficient private operators in business."

"We probably are a zero debt company, not owing money to anybody, and pitched against competition, which gets sop after sop. But this game will end soon," he said at the annual session and AGM of the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Stating that the government should stop giving relief to the inefficient, he said without naming debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines, "Government must take decisions that are for the good of the industry and not for the good of a select few."

Asked about recent transfer of the Director General of Civil Aviation and whether it had any impact on safety, Bhatia said, "if you look at any mature aviation market, such as the US in terms of safety they are the finest in the world.

"In USA an FA is equivalent to the DGCA. If they were confronted with a situation where the crew is not paid for months be it pilot or technical staff, I guarantee they would shut the airline on safety grounds," he said.

On Indigo offering new international routes, Bhatia said "On paper we are allowed to fly to other countries.

"But when we make an application government gives the right to a selective few. We would love to fly, but government holds on to those rights. This is reverse discrimination and its frustrating," he said.

Bhatia said airlines with low cost would survive and continue to grow in India.


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