Monday, February 08, 2016

Patel opposes proposal to dilute airlines' substantial control

New Delhi: Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today strongly opposed NDA government's proposal to hand over substantial control of Indian airlines to foreign carriers, terming the suggestion "ridiculous" and saying such a move, if approved, would harm national interests.

Patel, during whose tenure the civil aviation policy was formulated, also stressed that the government should not be seen to be favouring select Indian carriers while bringing in a new policy and instead ensure a level-playing field for all of them, while continuing the "time-tested" route dispersal guidelines to ensure air connectivity across the country.

Asked about the proposal to raise the FDI cap in airlines from 49 to beyond 50 per cent, he said "all over the world, the issue of substantial ownership and effective control (of an airline) is very minutely scrutinised" as aviation industry is different from any other and is affected by several factors including external.

"I am surprised that the draft aviation policy carries a provision to increase the FDI limit over 50 per cent. That is ridiculous. You have already done 49 per cent. 50 per cent or more will hurt the country," Patel told PTI.
07/02/16 PTI/Business Standard
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