MPs want to raise a toast mid-air
Few MP's are in favour of allowing domestic airlines to serve alcohol on board, which has been banned since the mid 1990s following incidents of unruly behaviour, report Gaurav Choudhury & Samiran Saha.india Updated: Nov 15, 2007 02:31 IST
WILL DOMESTIC passengers be allowed to raise a toast on board an aircraft? Although a debate over the issue kept parliamentarians busy on Wednesday, sources say that it is unlikely that the government will allow air passengers to drink alcohol on flights.
A few members of Parliament raised the issue of allowing domestic airlines to serve alcohol on board at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting, sources said.
The issue had come up for discussion on earlier occasions and each time it was turned down by the civil aviation ministry stating that the aviation policy does not allow serving of alcohol on board an aircraft.
Interestingly, the issue of providing wine or beer, either free or at a price, on domestic flights was raised at a meeting of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) earlier this year, where a few airlines were in favour of the move. FIA is the newly formed association of domestic airlines.
The government had banned sale and consumption of alcohol on domestic flights in India since the mid 1990s following incidents of unruly behaviour.
The FIA had made a representation to the Civil Aviation minister arguing in favour of allowing airlines to serve alcohol during flights on grounds that airlines are a service industry.
A top executive of a leading domestic carrier, who did not wish to be identified said, “Airlines are in favour of serving or selling alcohol on board as it would also generate additional revenue, which in turn could help to keep the fares low.” During Wednesday’s meeting the Parliamentarians also pitched for multiple airports at metropolitan cities similar to those found in London and New York to ease airspace congestion.
“At the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting members of Parliament stressed that, as is the practice world over, with the growth of civil aviation sector more airports would be required in the country and multiple airports would be necessary to address the existing problems in metropolitan airports”, a civil aviation ministry statement said.
Members of Parliament who were present at the meeting included Rahul Gandhi, Madhu Goud Yashki, Santosh Gangwar, Ratilal K. Verma, Ramswaroop Koli, Deepender Singh Hooda, Santosh Bagrodia, M.S. Gill, Tarlochan Singh, Abdul Wahab Peevee, Vijay Darda and Rajeev Shukla.