How do you see growth in Indian aviation sector?
It is definitely on a high growth trajectory. It is a developing sector and associated with a lot of infrastructure issues, which we are addressing from time to time. The growth in the sector has certainly not plateaued and I would say the growth path would continue for a long time.
Airlines have been complaining about aviation turbine fuel (ATF) taxes and how it is adversely affecting their balance sheets...
We are taking the issue very seriously. We see reason in what the airlines are saying and I am calling a meeting of all state transport ministers on December 20 and will work out ways to bring about some rationalisation in ATF prices. We have been talking to the finance ministry and the petroleum minister from time to time to provide a rationalised fuel tariff for airlines. Yes, it is affecting the growth of an upcoming industry. I would want to see some kind rationalisation in the base price, central levies and ATF sales taxes.
Come winter and one sees reports of passengers being inconvenienced by factors like fog and low visibility. Have you spoken to the airlines on the how the issue can be addressed more holistically?
We definitely have collected data and we are doing our best to make sure that the airlines are able to operate in an effective manner during the peak winter months. DGCA (Directorate-General of Civil Aviation) has also compiled data of which airline has pilots trained in operating in fog.
Have airlines been given instructions to be more sensitive to passenger concerns?
The airlines have been given necessary instructions and have been asked to deal with passengers in a more sensitive manner.