With the private airlines threatening to go on a nationwide strike on August 18, BJP today said though it would support all rational measures to bail out Air India the government should also look sympathetically at the problems faced by private airlines.
"The strike call by the Federation of Indian Airlines against ATF fuel hike and high airport charges is unfortunate. We would support any rational decision of the government to bail out Air India, but it should also look at the demands of private airlines," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
The former civil aviation minister said private airlines had also contributed significantly to the Indian aviation sector by increasing connectivity, providing choice of service and a decrease in fares due to competition.
"Naturally, private airlines also consider themselves as contributors and expect a level-playing field," he said. Rudy felt though the government could not be expected to put private airlines at par with Air India, it was guilty of ignoring the aviation sector in the last five years.
He argued that while the NDA government had taken several measures for expansion of the aviation sector, the UPA government had avoided taking far-reaching decisions leading to a complete disarray in the industry. "The government cannot wash its hands of these problems," Rudy said.