Airlines oppose govt policy on connectivity to remote areas | business | Hindustan Times
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Airlines oppose govt policy on connectivity to remote areas

Airlines and private charter operators have opposed the government's draft policy on air connectivity to regional and remote areas, saying it will have severe impact on their financial strength.

business Updated: Sep 21, 2014 15:16 IST

Airlines and private charter operators have opposed the government's draft policy on air connectivity to regional and remote areas, saying it will have severe impact on their financial strength.

Almost all major airlines, including the proposed Tata-SIA carrier Vistara, and business jet operators have submitted their opinions to the civil aviation ministry over the past few days opposing various provisions of the draft policy, and called for further deliberations.

To discuss the policy and other issues like high taxation on jet fuel with top airline officials, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has convened a meeting here next week, official sources said.

The revised draft policy on air connectivity to regional and remote areas was made public last month by the ministry, which proposed a major shift in the route dispersal guidelines and promised several incentives and exemption from various charges to airlines which fly to such unconnected places.

Terming the state governments as major stakeholders in improving air connectivity in the hinterland, the policy asks them to take financial measures like slashing VAT on jet fuel and underwriting of some seats to encourage aviation growth.

It also suggests that the state governments should waive electricity and municipal charges like house and property taxes for five years for airport infrastructure.

The draft proposes increase in the number of trunk routes from present 12 to 30 and identifies 87 regional "incentive destinations". It makes it mandatory for scheduled airlines to mount capacity "which is at least equal to the capacity deployed on trunk routes" by October 2015.

In its submission, private airline Jet Airways said the policy requirement to deploy 100% of trunk route capacity on regional routes could cause overcapacity and hence this should be should be reduced to 50%.