Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Hardeep Puri suggests convening special council meeting to bring ATF under GST

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday suggested convening a special meeting of GST council to bring aviation turbine fuel (ATF) under the GST. He also said that there will be zero tolerance on issues of flight security and noted that airlines had been given suggestions to deal with the impact of coronavirus.

Replying to debate on the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in Lok Sabha, the minister agreed with members that airfares should be affordable but noted that airlines should also be viable. The minister said several airline companies feel the strain and ATF comprises 40 per cent of operating cost.

He said with prices of crude down, it was time to get the states on board about bringing ATF under GST. He said a special meeting of Goods and Services Tax council can be convened "to bring ATF under GST".

The minister urged states to delink ATF from petrol and diesel for bringing it under GST. He said on issues of flight security there will be zero-tolerance. "Anyone who threatens physical security of aircraft deserves no consideration," he said.

The minister said that apart from domestic air travel taking a hit, IATA has estimated that there could be a loss of $63 billion to $ 113 billion on account of coronavirus. He said India cannot be immune from the impact of the virus from an economic point of view.

The minister said domestic travel was down and airlines have given their suggestions including requesting oil companies to give 30-day credit. The minister said while 700 aircraft were operational in the country, the benchmark is 2000 aircraft.
17/03/20 ANI/Devdiscourse
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